All is ready for our live webcasts!

All is ready for our live #webcasts! One in 6 hrs time, the other in 22. http://bit.ly/dcwebcast1 for details! Thanks to #NuMuBu for hosting! Not sure if #JunoTheCat will be taking part but she's minding the gear for now, as you can see.
Posted by Instagrate to WordPress

All is ready for our live webcasts! One in 6 hrs time, the other in 22. (17/18 April 2014)

This is our Mugen and Takamine acoustic guitars with our black Fender Telecaster in the middle. Not sure if Juno (our black cat) will be taking part [edit: she did!] but she's minding the gear for now, as you can see.

Thanks to NuMuBu for hosting!

For up to date info about my webcasts, please sign up for the newsletter at dccardwell.fanbridge.com
(And you'll also get some free mp3s!)

New single by Mondo Quinn (produced by me!)

Mondo Quinn: Produced by DC Cardwell

My Tasmanian friend Mondo Quinn has a new double-A side single out. He recorded it at my studio a couple of weekends ago. Both songs have got his usual early-Beatles melodic verve: they’re what I believe the young people are calling “earworms“.

Mondo is on lead vocals and played all of the electric guitars. I think it’s his best vocal performance yet – I told him to sing more aggressively and do his best “John Lennon voice” and he came up with the goods admirably! We double-tracked them and that was it – no need for multiple takes and a lot of “comping”.

As well as producing it, I played everything else and helped a little bit with the arrangements. But Mondo writes such perfect little melodic songs that they don’t need much dressing up. I particularly love the clever, slightly “rushed” transitions into the different parts of “Love Is The Reason“. The whole thing moves along with a great sense of momentum, which is something I love in a song!

It’s up on Bandcamp on a “pay what you want” basis, in other words you can put in zero dollars and get it for free – Radiohead-style! The address is mondoquinn.bandcamp.com – that takes you to his main Bandcamp page.

~ DC

 

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The End Of the World is nigh! Come and celebrate with DC’s new eschatological song!

The 21st of December 2012 is the End Of The World according to the ancient Mayans. They were wrong of course, because they didn’t know squat about anything, and their world ended long before 2012, anyway.

But have you ever considered how ephemeral life on earth is for all of us? Have you ever ever wondered if you’ll wake up and find yourself dead? Have you ever wondered if the oil will run out before we all fry? Have you ever wondered…

Wait a minute, that’s a sermon and I don’t do sermons, I write songs.

Go to http://noisetrade.com/dccardwell to get

Go to my Bandcamp page to hear my newest song, The Sun, The Moon, The Stars, which is about all that kind of stuff (if you want it to be).

The song features me on vocals, guitars, bass and piano, and Samuel plays drums, synth and glockenspiel, and it’s a bit of an epic, really, by my standards.

So if you haven’t already, grab it NOW or you may have to wait until my next album comes out in 2013. If we’re still around then!

~ DC


The Sun, The Moon, The Stars
LYRICS © DC Cardwell 2012

The sun, the moon, the stars
Jupiter and Mars
Everybody thinks they know
Where they’re gonna be tonight
The fuel in your tank
The money in your bank
Everybody thinks they know
Where they’re gonna be tonight

But I don’t know what time it is
Something big is falling on my head
But I don’t know what time it is
I try to remember what my teacher said
You’re on your own now

You’re on your own now

The dinner on your table
The power in your cable
Everybody thinks they know
Where they’re gonna be tonight
The pictures in your camera
The things that you remember
Everybody thinks they know
Where they’re gonna be tonight

But I don’t know what time it is
Something big is falling on my head
But I don’t know what time it is
I try to remember what my teacher said
You’re on your own now

You’re on your own now

The mountains and your bed
The things inside your head
Everybody thinks they know
Where they’re gonna be tonight

But I don’t know what time it is
Something big is falling on my head
But I don’t know what time it is
I try to remember what my teacher said
You’re on your own now

You’re on your own now

PLEASE SHARE this LINK WITH YOUR FRIENDS TOO!
The Sun, The Moon, The Stars

Complete DC Cardwell Band gig on Youtube

You can watch the whole DC Cardwell Band show at Ha’penny Bridge, Frankston from Jan 13 – just click on the thumbnail at the end of this post. All the songs will play one after the other, and you can also find them individually on my Youtube Channel (youtube.com/dccardwellsmusic)  if you’d rather dip in a song at a time.

This was our first gig with Victor Stranges on drums, and it also features my sons Joel and Samuel Cardwell on bass and guitar, respectively. No acoustic guitars in sight so it was a rock show with lots of guitar solos and a fair bit of jangling going on too. Please comment and rate the video and it would be good if you would also subscribe to my channel – it all helps the cause!

DC Cardwell records with Jaymee Carpenter in LA [Newsletter 21st Jan 2011]

Hello! DC here…

I told you in last month’s newsletter about my impending trip (in December) to Los Angeles to record some songs for a movie. Well, it all went very well and I had a fantastic time!

Jaymee Carpenter at the controls in the studio.
Jaymee Carpenter at the controls in the studio

The producer, Jaymee Carpenter, was a joy to work with and we managed to get six songs done in five days which was pretty good going. The director of the film, Michael Garcia, dropped by and seemed very happy with the songs and what we were doing with them. And I enjoyed every minute of my time there… now I can’t wait to go back!

Jaymee has a very impressive resumé which includes writing music for That 70’s Show and 3rd Rock From The Sun. He also composed the music for Crime After Crime which right now is nominated for an award at Sundance Film Festival. Also, Jaymee has two songs in the new Paramount Pictures blockbuster The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale & Amy Adams. So you can see what a privilege it was to work with him.

[Addendum from 2012] I started out by recording the acoustic guitar for each song, followed by a guide vocal. Then, unlike my own recordings, most of the overdubs were by Jaymee and his regular session men. Jaymee overdubbed drums, and then Bryan Fouts put on some lovely bass. Jordan Shapiro brought along a large selection of guitars and amps and overdubbed 6 and 12 string electric, dobro and pedal steel. I played piano on a couple of tracks, and overdubbed harmonica on “A Minute Of Your Time”, and then on the last day I overdubbed the final vocals, much faster and in fewer takes than I would have at home!

The full list of songs we recorded is:

  • I Am Still The Same
  • Know Me
  • A Minute Of Your Time
  • Peace And Love
  • The Way Of A Woman With A Man
  • Birthday Present

The first five were destined for the movie in question. However, as of late 2012 the news is, unfortunately, that the project has been shelved and Jaymee and Michael are no longer involved with it. This is unfortunate news for me, however Jaymee intends to use my songs for some other project at some point so hopefully all the work will “pay off” eventually!” [end of Addendum]

And don’t don’t forget, my album Some Hope has been released in the US. It’s newly repackaged in a beautiful gatefold LP-style cardboard sleeve with new artwork. Sixteen (true!) tracks of pure goodness. The CD is available worldwide from CD Baby, my website (dccardwell.com) and our own Madcar Records website. Or you can download the album or individual songs from Madcar Records, iTunes or Amazon.

Anyway, after you’ve bought my album 🙂 come back and watch this little video I made about my experience in LA… and you can hear some of the music we recorded there…

Click here to watch “DC In LA”!

Review of Neil Young at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia, 28 Jan 2009

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a rather wonderful outdoor venue in the
heart of Melbourne’s King’s Domain. A natural amphitheatre with a large
stage and a covered area for those who can afford the expensive seats!
For once, I paid the extra to get up close to one of my major musical
heroes. I was accompanied by my wife Marjie and my son Samuel, both
also Neil Young fans.

But it was just too hot for me to really enjoy this show. I’ve been in
Melbourne for twelve years now, but for a Northern Ireland kid these
40+ days are hard to take, especially when they drag on for too long a
period! And after a long hot day and a scorching walk to the venue,
you’re not exactly in the mood to rock and roll all night long, free
world or not.

I regret that we stayed in our seats under the dome as it was indeed
like baking in an oven, but the heat was also making us feel so tired
that we were reluctant to move back to watch and listen from out in the
open air. I now wish we had, judging from other people’s comments.

I’m a long-time Neil fan (ever since I heard a track from the new album
Zuma in 1975 while listening to the John Peel Show on a little
transistor radio underneath my pillow) and his playing has influenced
me more than any other guitarist’s. Anyone who knows me will attest
that I am a huge Neil enthusiast.

And I’ve only seen him twice before – the last two and a half songs
(don’t ask!) of a show in Vancouver back in the early 90s and his last
appearance here in Melbourne on the Greendale tour, which was really
great but not a typical performance.

I’d read very good things about this tour, with the British leg being
hailed as his best since the famous Crazy Horse shows of the mid-70s.

So I was primed for this to be the “gig of a lifetime”, but it was not
to be – which was probably more due to the scorching weather, my
fragile physical state (for various reasons), poor sound from where I
was sitting, a guy to my left who was not large but somehow took up way
more space (mine) than was justified, and a song selection which was
not to my taste. So I’m surprised to be writing a
less-than-enthusiastic review and I apologise for it, because I think
most people there enjoyed it more than I did.

The Greendale show had been at the same venue, and from our vantage
point then, much further from the stage, the sound was perfect.
Tonight, down near the front, it was rather boxy and unfortunately the
drums were mixed way too loud and reverberant like any crappy bar band,
which was annoying most of the time, but especially in the ballads,
when it was completely ridiculous. I guess the covered part of the
venue (50 years old next month) was acoustically designed for classical
music, but that’s not good for rock’n’roll! And from where I was,
Neil’s acoustic guitar sounded really bad and that spoiled songs that
should have been good, like “The Needle And The Damage Done”.

I thought the backing vocals were spot-on and beautiful, especially
Neil’s wife Pegi‘s, and the playing was generally sympathetic, but I
couldn’t really hear the piano at all from where I was. And as for the
bass, it was pretty much impossible to clearly identify any particular
note, so we just got a general boominess in the lower registers.

Anyway, Neil was full of energy, which amazed me given the extreme
heat. He was wearing a white open-necked shirt and Eric Morecambe style
khaki Bermuda shorts. His voice was sounding fairly strong despite the
acoustics, however at the Greendale show five years ago his voice was
astoundingly good, in fact I didn’t even know he *could* sing like that!

And despite regretting not moving back, it was good to be close enough
to really *see* Neil and observe what he was doing with his guitar.

It was also a treat to see Ben Keith – someone who’s played with Neil
since those far-off legendary days of the early 70s. The full line-up
was Ben Keith (pedal steel, guitar, piano, organ), Rick Rosas (bass),
Chad Cromwell (drums), Anthony Crawford and Pegi Young (backing vocals,
piano and guitars).

An early song was a fave of mine, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
with its delectable la-la-las. But for my particular taste there were
just too many songs that I find mediocre, with throwaway tunes and
sophomoric homespun cod-religious or philosophical lyrics which are
probably crowd-pleasing but lack the depth of which he is capable. Many
of them had failed to interest me on the original albums and these live
performances didn’t enhance them any. I noticed that Marjie and Samuel
laughed heartily at some of them, and not in a good way!

An exception was “One Of These Days” which I had never liked much but
which suddenly rung very true on this occasion, and I guess it’s
moments like that which make a show worthwhile!

“Four Strong Winds” came across quite well too. The harmonium on
“Mother Earth” was nice, but, well, the song is laughable, really! I
mean, you’d think you can’t go wrong with the tune of “O Waly Waly“,
but the words… This was one which really had Marjie and Samuel
cracking up and who could blame them? (Flame away – we all have our
likes and dislikes and I’ve already stated that Neil is one of my absolute
fave artists so I don’t feel guilty!)

As others have commented online, “Cortez The Killer” was, well, killer,
and the only song of the night where he really let his guitar do what
it does so well – sing. (But you know, even though that song is one of
the best tracks on my favourite Neil album, the sentiment still really
bugs me because he suggests that sacrificing children is OK if you
think you’re going to get some mystical benefit from it. It doesn’t
exactly support his case against Cortez. There – I’ve written a song
about that, but now I’ve said it openly for the first time!)

For me, another highlight of the evening was “Words”. That was the only
song in which Neil played his white Gretsch and I hate to say this,
but it sounded way better than his legendary Les Paul, “Old Black”. I
think the cleaner, bitier sound helped make up for the muddiness of the
PA. I had never really loved this song on Harvest, but tonight the 11/8
time signatures (or whatever they are) sounded perfectly natural and
even swinging. Marjie hated it though!

The finale of “A Day In The Life” was brilliant. It’s a great song that
the Beatles made kinda difficult to cover (although I have a 45rpm
record of Wes Montgomery doing it) but it was good to hear it being
done so well by Neil. He and his band are as capable of doing
cacophonous wig-outs as anyone, as we all know, but they somehow
managed to make the orchestral crescendos sound remarkably like the Sgt
Pepper version! I was sure I could hear the swirling strings but it was
coming out of bass, drums, piano, organ and guitars. For the second
crescendo he proceeded to break all the strings on “Old Black” and thrash the
pickups with them, at great length and to noisy effect. The middle bit
(woke up, fell out of bed) was perhaps a little off, and Nil seemed to
be forgetting the words or forgetting to go up to the microphone, but
the overall effect was unforgettable.

Pegi had utilised the illuminated vibraphone in a pleasantly Motownish
way earlier in the evening, but for the climax of “A Day In The Life”
Neil ran up to where it was located at the back of the stage and hit a
percussive version of the Beatles’ famous piano chord. Not quite as
cute as the Rutles’ “plonk”, but a good way to end.

Review by DC Cardwell (www.dccardwell.com)

FULL SET LIST (thanks to http://www.setlist.fm)

1. Love And Only Love
2. Sea Change
3. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
4. I’ve Been Waiting For You
5. Spirit Road
6. Cortez The Killer
7. Cinnamon Girl
8. Mother Earth
9. The Needle And The Damage Done
10. Light A Candle
11. Four Strong Winds
12. Unknown Legend
13. One Of These Days
14. Get Back To The Country
15. Words
16. Just Singing A Song
17. Rockin’ In The Free World
18. A Day In The Life

My New Glockenspiel

Here are some photos of me and my new toy “Angel” glockenspiel that I got for Christmas. Well, I’m not sure if it’s a toy – it sounds pretty good to me. But it looks like a toy.

You can hear it on my new song (I Am Still The Same) which I recorded this week.

It’s not exactly good-time party music, but, well, let me know what you make of the lyrics. They refer to a very specific scenario, but I expect they can resonate with a lot of different situations depending on what the listener takes out of them.

I’ve also made available on Reverbnation the original acoustic demo which I did in one take. It’s pretty rough, but I liked the feel and so, instead of starting again from scratch, I used it as the basis for the full version and simply overdubbed some more vocals, bass and electric guitars, as well as the glockenspiel and some toy sleighbells.

It’s only a rough mix and I may go back and do more stuff to it or even re-record the whole thing, but, hey…

DC Cardwell's Angel Glockenspiel 8th Jan 2009
My new Angel glockenspiel
DC Cardwell with Angel Glockenspiel 8th Jan 2009
Laying down some heavy glock.
DC Cardwell - Angel Glockenspiel Spiel 8th Jan 2009
The box. It’s poetry, really, isn’t it?
DC Cardwell and Hofner bass in studio 8th Jan 2009
And this is me at my computer where I recorded I Am Still The Same

Happy New Year! ~ DC

DC’s Review of CROWDED HOUSE at The Forum, Melbourne, 2nd Dec 2008

[Originally on Facebook Notes] Here’s my belated review of the recent top notch Crowded House show in Melbourne, Australia. I’m writing this nearly two weeks after the show, and forgetting a lot of the details, so if anyone has a recording of the show I’d love to have a copy!

BACKGROUND

Crowded House are known for their unpredictable shows with improvised music, banter and on-the-fly audience interaction, and Tuesday, 2nd December at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre was a classic of the genre. (Although I have to admit I came late to them and have only seen them live a handful of times – I do, however, have numerous live recordings and videos so I am still qualified to make this statement!)

This was the first of two Melbourne warm-up shows for the band’s appearance at Sydney’s Homebake Festival. The house was packed.

For those of you who are not already fans of the band, I should mention that they split around 1996 and sealed their career with a massive free farewell concert outside the Sydney Opera House, which was also preceded by two wonderful warm-up shows at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne which my wife Marjie and I had the pleasure of attending.

Leader Neil Finn subsequently embarked on an interesting but slightly disappointing (to me) solo career, releasing two albums on his own and one with his brother Tim, interspersed by other projects such as a Split Enz reunion tour and a collaboration with musicians such as ex-members of Radiohead, the Smiths and Pearl Jam.

In the meantime, their much loved drummer and manic funny man, Paul Hester, sadly took his own life a few years ago, leaving a big gap which seemed impossible to fill. However, to many people’s surprise, Neil reformed the band a couple of years ago the new Crowded House are producing new songs and albums and generally acting as a vital unit, unlike some play-the-hits-take-the-money-and-run nostalgia merchants.

New drummer Matt Sherrod (ex-Beck) does his job admirably from a musical point of view, and wisely doesn’t try to emulate Hester’s humour and stage presence.

Original bassist Nick Seymour and guitarist/keyboardist Mark Hart (who joined as a fully-fledged member around the recording of their last pre-split album) are also back in the fold.

THE VENUE

Melbourne can lay claim to being the band’s spiritual home as they formed here and were based here for most of their career. The Forum Theatre is a fascinating place in itself, with ‘stars’ glowing from its ceiling, and faux architecture and Roman statues visible in large balconies to each side of the stage, giving the illusion of being outdoors in an exotic locale.

Apart from diners at the back of the room, most of the audience were standing fairly well-packed in front of the stage. Marjorie and I were around ten rows of fans back from the stage, and the sound was very good and, as usual at Crowded House shows, not too loud. The drums sounded natural, without that annoying, larger-then-life quality that you get too often nowadays.

THE ENTRANCE

The band came onstage with the house and stage lights down, wearing those miner-style camping lamps that you put on your head. They played the first song, ‘Locked Out’, like that, so that you couldn’t really see their faces. I think some stage lights also swept across the audience. It was like a low-budget version of something Neil Young might do. Quite artistic, really, and it actually felt faintly moving that they might have been implying that they wanted to see the audience rather than being seen by them.

When they discarded the lamps and the stage lights came up we could see that they were wearing the trim, dapper suits that they seem to have taken to this century. Neil’s hair hasn’t got any rulier. Nick was almost shaven-headed.

A little later Neil revealed that he had cut his forehead (very slightly) taking the lamps off after the first song, and he and Nick joked about how rock’n’roll that was. They said that there was a fine line between rock’n’roll and stupidity, and I think it was Neil who wondered if there is a line at all. Someone said that rock’n’roll was stupidity with lamps attached.

They talked a bit about which shops they had searched in that day for the lamps, and of course it was endearing to know that it hadn’t been some kind of long-hatched, professionally staged stunt.

Once the lights came up we could see a fabric backdrop painted to look a little like wallpapered walls with framed paintings of various members of the band, along with a couple of slightly weird androgynous nudes. Probably Nick’s work, but I’m only guessing.

THE HELP

The band have often used auxiliary musicians over the years, with Neil’s son Liam recently holding down guitar duties, Eddie Rayner out of Split Enz playing his baroque keyboards in their early days, and I recall Jools their female roadie playing keyboards occasionally. Tonight Neil’s younger son, Elroy, lurked in the shadows playing acoustic and electric guitars for many of the songs. He sported a beard not quite as fulsome as his older brother’s, and an immaculately coiffed hairdo which could probably absorb quite a few bullets if necessary.

Rather more visible was Don McGlashan, who used to be the leader of the sadly defunct Mutton Birds, and must nearly equal Neil Finn as a beloved New Zealand singer-songwriter and all-round national treasure. Marjorie and I adored the Mutton Birds (BTW, you can see our names on ‘Flock’, their Greatest Hits CD!) so it was rather strange, and in fact unsettling, to see him up there as a general musical dogsbody and not get the chance to sing any of his own compositions. We had assumed he would be the support act, but no, that was the enjoyable but unremarkable Anika Moa.

Anyway, as I mentioned, Don was at least visually quite prominent, with a modest elevated home behind Nick stage left. He had a small electronic keyboard close to hand, a guitar or two, a little gourd-like mandolinish thingy, a toy piano, something like a fluegel horn, and of course, his trusty euphonium. When I spotted its comforting form I yelled in Marjorie’s ear, “Don’s got his euphonium!” and she nodded in enthusiastic acknowledgment. However, a minute later she yelled back in my ear, “I thought you said he’s got his wee podium!”

Don also popped up over on the Mark side of the stage playing the real keyboards once in a while.

THE MAIN SET

The review in Melbourne newspaper The Age* referred to the set as ‘fan-friendly’ and indeed it was. There was only one indisputable classic in the entire main set, ‘Fall At Your Feet’, and that didn’t come until near the end.

I guess I should fend off arguments by stating that ‘World Where You Live’, the second song, is a near-classic, but not quite of the same mass-recognisability as ‘Weather With You’ or ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ (which didn’t get an airing tonight).

The audience didn’t seem to mind the five new songs they played, although I have to say I found them a little dull, rather like some of the lesser songs on ‘Time On Earth’, the band’s first post-reformation album, which had started out as a Neil solo album. I expect they’ll grow on me, though.

‘Lucky’ was the title of one of the new songs and they attempted to throw in a bit of The Kinks’ ‘Lola’ but they didn’t really know the chords – there’s one to practise for next time! Another impromptu cover was ‘You Sexy Thing’, one I’ve heard them do before.

One of the greater songs on ‘Time On Earth’ was ‘Don’t Stop Now’, which to me was a little flat on this occasion. Nick seemed a little uncomfortable playing the keyboard bit at the beginning while holding his bass, and the whole thing never quite took off. I’ve seen them do it before perfectly successfully though – I guess it might have been just another thing to iron out on the warm-up show.

Pineapple Head segued into a cover of The Beatles’ ‘The End’ which was rather nice.

Neil referred to the fact that he had dreamed the previous night about being in bed with Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway out of Radiohead. Those two appeared on his ‘Seven Worlds Collide’ project a few years ago, and are scheduled to play with him again when he revisits the concept next year.

When Paul was around it seemed that almost all the banter and humour originated with him, but now Neil and Nick are almost as chatty as ever without him. Nick was famously very much against splitting the band, and you get the impression that he’s very happy indeed to be up there again. Perhaps the fact that he had become a father a few weeks previously also had a bearing on his cheerful demeanour. He talked with fondness about going that day to Bernard’s Magic Shop on Elizabeth Street which he used to visit as a child but realising now that all the toys and tricks were really crap.

At one point Neil managed to rib Nick, as he often does, about the Seymour Family Singers, his family’s band which he was in with his parents and siblings when he was growing up. Snippets from such classics as ‘Three Little Maids From School’ ensued.

The normally taciturn Mark actually went up to the mike and opened his mouth as if he was going to speak, but then changed his mind. Later on, though, he actually did come up with a few words, as I recall.

I was particularly happy to hear a couple of my favourites, ‘Not The Girl You Think You Are’ and ‘Whispers And Moans’, and the opening bars of both were greeted with warm recognition from the audience, suggesting that I am not the only one to hold those two songs in high regard. They also revived the great ‘Chocolate Cake’, which was preceded by a series of samples that featured in the Woodface recording of the song. Afterwards there were some allusions to Obama and his recently announced ‘Money Team’ but rather than give an unqualified vote of confidence to their ability to get the world out of recession, Neil circumspectly said, “we’ll just have to wait and see”.

Before the gig Marjorie and I had noted a person at the bar dressed up in fancy dress as 1965 Bob Dylan or John Cooper Clarke (take your pick) with elaborate yet immovable hair. During ‘Love You Til The Day I Die’ this creature joined the band, played a lively guitar solo and was introduced as Davey Lane from You Am I. There’s a tradition around here for people to chant “The Best Cold Beer Is Vic” at a certain point in this song, but tonight Neil had to do it himself with hardly any help from the audience, and he seemed a little disappointed. I think it was originally a Paul Hesterism, but perhaps someone can help me out with the story. The phrase itself is a slogan for our local king of beers, Victoria Bitter.

THE FIRST ENCORE

In the first encore we were treated to ‘It’s Only Natural’, another big fave of Marjie’s and mine, and it was good, as always, but they didn’t really play that odd but lovely riff properly at the beginning, and, as in all the Woodface Tim/Neil songs, Tim’s backing vocals were sorely missed. I’ve seen shows before where Mark did a reasonably good job of replicating them, but at this show they were very weak indeed and one had to sing them oneself to achieve anything approaching the desired effect. I guess this is what ‘warm-up’ shows are for!

Neil asked the audience if they had any questions for the band and then found a loose microphone on a lead and asked the audience to pass it around to the speakers. He asked us to police ourselves and was duly impressed by the orderly fashion in which this was done, and even more so by the fact that the microphone returned intact at the end of it all. (Not quite as cute as a tale I once heard of Don’s euphonium being crowd-surfed from soundboard to stage with a few detours in between.)

One guy mentioned that his wife was about to have a baby and had to miss the gig because of it. He requested that Mark think of a name for it if it turned out to be a girl, and Nick if it was a boy. He said he was serious and the name would actually be used, but Mark cruelly came up with ‘Atticus’, which he had heard on some TV program the night before. Neil made up a snatch of a song “Attaboy Addicus”. Nick asked what the surname would be (I forget) and came up with the very boring but much kinder suggestion, ‘Emily’.

Then some guy answered Neil’s earlier question to the audience about when the back balcony had got walled up by saying that when Neil played solo there in such-and-such a year it was still open, and after that gig he and his band had gone home and learned to play ‘Private Universe’. This, of course, was a cue for Neil to invite him and his friends to come up on stage and play the song, so they guy got up but the other two members took a while to materialise. So in the meantime some other enthusiastic bloke got up as well. I toyed with the idea of doing likewise but two things stopped me: (a) I don’t really like ‘Private Universe’ and (b) I wasn’t sure that I could succesfully climb up on to the stage. Of course I regretted it afterwards.

Eventually the other two guys materialised and with the help of the real band they played and sang the song. But for me the highlight was the young girl who clambered up unnoticed by Neil and proceeded to play along on Don’s euphonium! Audience participation is commonplace at Crowded House shows but I bet this was a first!

They finished the first encore with ‘Weather With You’, again suffering from sheer lack of Tim, but benefiting from Don playing enthusiastically on his little toy piano held up to the microphone and rather effective for it. This is yet another perfect singalong song, but as I’ve noticed before, there are two versions of the chorus, both of which resolve differently. Generally the audience doesn’t know which version is happening at any one time, and the thing collapses each time the resolution is reached and half the people sing a different thing from the other half. However Neil made much of the fact that, for the first time ever, we actually managed to get it right! That’s a hometown audience for you! He got us to run through it again both ways just to make sure.

THE SECOND ENCORE

Neil began by playing a lengthy drum solo while Matt wandered over to the keyboards and started making sounds. Neil attempted to get a rendition of Paul Hester’s ‘This Is Massive’ going but it didn’t really work out. Apart from this musical allusion, I don’t think Neil mentioned Paul at all, even though he was a Melbourne man and it would have seemed very natural to talk about him here. Neil regularly paid tribute to Paul frequently on the earlier tours of the reformed version of the band, but tonight he didn’t and afterwards I was absolutely amazed to realise that I had gone through the whole concert barely consciously thinking of him at all! I guess that’s a good thing in that it means that Matt is doing a great job on drums, but I almost felt guilty when it dawned on me.

Then it was ‘Fingers Of Love’ which Marjorie absolutely hates. I don’t mind it too much but Marjie’s detestation always rubs off on me a little so that I can’t really enjoy it.

Then they sang a live favourite, their version of Nick’s brother Mark’s ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’. An audience sing-along classic if ever there was one. We were happy that Neil gave Don a verse to sing, and he sounded truly magnificent. Only made me more cross that he didn’t get to sing any of his own songs!

Neil was clearly wanting the night to go on for ever and said that he couldn’t think of a way to end it so he gave Matt a drum solo. Parts of it seemed to me to be modeled along the lines of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick’ so I was wishing the band to come in with that riff, but they had worked another Zep riff into ‘Chocolate Cake’ earlier so perhaps they didn’t want to overdo it!

Nick treated us to a rendition of ‘Hector The Safety Cat’ which must be some old Aussie public information film. I don’t think Neil had heard that one before.

Then they finished the night with ‘Better Be Home Soon’ – always a good way to end it! Throughout the evening the band seemed genuinely moved by the reception they got, and Neil specifically said that he didn’t want it to end. The show had lasted almost three hours and after a wildly received bow or two from the entire ensemble, Nick concluded it by warmly thanking his hometown of Melbourne.

– DC Cardwell 2008

Neil Finn – some banter from the gig

SET LIST (compiled from some other versions posted on the web – may not be entirely accurate but thanks to the kind anons from whom I pinched it)

1. Locked Out
2. World Where You Live
3. Isolation
4. Turn It Round
5. Pineapple Head/The End
6. Amsterdam
7. Don’t Stop Now
8. People Are Like Suns
9. Chocolate Cake
10. Not The Girl You Think You Are
11. Heaven That I’m Making
12. Lucky/Lola
13. Fall At Your Feet
14. Whispers And Moans
15. Love You Til The Day I Die
16. When You Come

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17. It’s Only Natural
18. Cars Collide
19. Private Universe
20. Distant Sun
21. Weather With You
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22. Neil Drum Jam/This Is Massive
23. Fingers Of Love
24. Throw Your Arms Around Me
25. Matt Drum Solo
26. Better Be Home Soon

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*Our son Samuel had mentioned to me the review in The Age but I couldn’t find it, and after I’d thumbed through the paper for some time Marjorie revealed that she’d used a few pages to wrap the Christmas Cake as it baked in the oven. She was kind enough to save the relevant article after the cake came out, and now I know that newsprint can survive such ordeals unscathed. I’ve heard of ‘half-baked’ reviews before, but I have the ‘completely-baked’ one in front of me as I type. It looks just fine.

Some less well-known MySpace artists that I like (by DC)

[imported from MySpace – note that some of these links may well be dead by now]

Again, this list could be a mile long. I’ve been really enthralled by a lot of beautiful music on MySpace over the last year or so. I’ll try to keep adding to (or amending) this list, but it’s like “top friends”, it’s impossible to truly represent my feelings! Tell you what, though – these artists are all well worth listening to so why don’t you click on a few and tell them I sent you!

  • Don McGlashan (Former leader of the wonderful Mutton Birds and certified National Treasure in New Zealand – unquestionably a genius, and one of the best singers you’ll ever hear)
  • The Desert Downtown and Marshmallow (One of the secret weapons of The Mutton Birds was their bass player/occasional songwriter and singer, Alan Gregg, and these are two of his projects, both achingly tuneful in nature)
  • Maxi Dunn (One of the few women on the Jellyfish Tribute album. She’s just so good. I don’t know what it is about her songs – I can’t analyse why I like them so much. On the surface they sound a little 80s-ish for my taste, but I just want to play them over and over again, so she’s doing something that moves me!)
  • Martin Okasili (He’s from my hometown of Portadown, Northern Ireland, but I never met him. I read a rave review of him in Mojo once and eventually found him here on myspace, and, would you believe it, it turns out he is brilliant!)
  • The Electrolites (Don’t miss them)
  • Darren Sheppard (Clever guy from England who still knows how to write and play songs like the British bands of the 60s – many try but few succeed)
  • The Taters (Actually, this band from Virginia do a pretty good job at capturing that 60s sound, too! And I’ve heard first hand that they’re one of the greatest live acts on the planet!)
  • Steve Singh (Like the Beatles, but not like The Beatles. You know what I mean, even the Beatles were “like the Beatles, but not like the Beatles”, in that they never did what anyone expected)
  • Linda Draper (I love this music deeply)
  • Tender Slider (Brilliant music from my good friend Achim Degen in Germany)
  • The Aloha Mountain Groove Band (The name says it all! Features Renn Tiki)
  • Mike Dees (Rootsy pop songs from Memphis)
  • Crab Bubbles (Infinitely enjoyable pure pop from Japan)
  • Peter Farnan (This guy from Melbourne is a treasure – spends a lot of time working in various projects but is working towards a solo album which I’m looking forward to)
  • Jane Bayley (Partner of Mr. Farnan and equally wonderful – check out her Blossom Dearie-esque “Lovely Wife”)
  • Darren Keith (Amazing range and depth of material)
  • Jenny Queen (Americana, but don’t let that put you off!)
  • Teri LaBrecque (Writes and records all her stuff at home by herself, just like myself, but she’s a better singer and plays a more interesting range of instruments!)
  • Honest John (Sydney band – just got their new EP and it’s as good as anything new I’ve heard this year!)
  • Marty Williams (Marty is kind of a perfect singer and a great supporter of local music round here on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, and he’s also in this band with his brother…)
  • Cousin Leonard (You’ll never see a happier crowd than those at their regular Sunday afternoon gigs at the Heritage in Balnarring!)
  • President Roots (Another excellent band from here on the Mornington Peninsula – their leader, Simon has a new song about Professor Longhair that I heard him play recently, and it’s an instant classic.)
  • David Rice (Folksy yet Beatle-tinged and eclectic Swedish artist.)
  • themillionstars (I’ve just discovered this duo, Rose and Malcolm Moore and I fell in love instantly. They make tough music.)
  • Father Bloopy (Quite a few people have likened me to Ray Davies and the Kinks, but this band’s singer deserves the comparison. Even better, the band have brilliantly strong songs and sound.)
  • Hugh Hamilton (Never mind his beautifully accomplished guitar playing and crafty songwriting, check out that wonderful Claptonesque voice of his!)
  • Ernie Dufour (This guy’s singing really affects me – you know how singers used to be back in the good old days of the 60s and 70s?)
  • Richard Cummins (Richard lives very near where I used to live in Canada, but we never met each other back then. He’s very accomplished and makes beautifully Beatlesque music in an effortless manner.)
  • Marjie Cardwell (Marjie is my wife and after a break of some years she has been doing some new recordings with me – on this page she has posted some covers that we have done live in our home studio, with Marjie and me on guitars, Samuel on bass and Chris Haylock on drums.)
  • The Good China (This band’s from here in Melbourne, where there’s a lot of good music made, but not much of it sounds like this. There are, like, nine people in it and they are a little like a slightly mellower New Pornographers. Nice visual style too!)
  • We All Want To (This band’s also from Australia – and, like the band above, they also sound like a more human New Pornographers. This is my kinda thing!)
  • Victor Stranges (Victor is a Melbourne artist with a huge talent for songwriting and a big, expressive voice. If you like classic Elvis Costello you’ll definitely like his songs and his sound. Check out his Myspace and say hi – he’s a nice guy too!)

Honest John is an Australian band I just got their new 5-track EP and it’s absolutely excellent. Not earth-shatteringly pushing forward the boundaries of music or anything like that, but there’s something about Glen Colley’s voice and his songs and the way the band delivers them that gave me the kind of feeling I used to have as a youngster when I discovered for myself people like Neil Young.

Another band is from here on the Mornington Peninsula – President Roots. I know their leader, Simon, and on Wednesday night he came along to the Balnarring Muso’s Night that Marty Williams runs. He did a few songs, sounding fantastic as usual, and he included a new one he’s just written which was just thrilling – a bit of a Nirvana feel to it, but it’s all about Professor Longhair, Fats Domino and, oh, just all kinds of mad stuff and it gave me a real kick!

Oh, and, to round the evening off he did “Dancing Queen”, segueing into about 6 other tunes, with me on bass and, though we say so ourselves, it was pretty darn funky and the dancefloor was hot! It was a little different from my rare version of Dancing Queen which brings out the song’s depressing, morose side.

~ DC

Review of Bob Dylan at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, 17 August, 2007

 

I should write a proper review, but I haven’t got around to it. But we went to see Bob Dylan at the Rod Laver Arena a couple of weeks ago. I’d only seen him once before, in Dublin in 1984, when he was OK but a wee bit dull. (He was joined for the encore by Van Morrison and Bono, though, which I suppose was fairly memorable.)

Anyway, this time around, we had pretty good seats to one side of the stage. He played the guitar for the first three songs, beginning with Rainy Day Women. I wasn’t sure what number the women were, because Bob was in classic “growling each line indecipherably and at the last possible moment” mode. That was fun for one song but would have been irritating if he’d kept it up all night. However on the second song, It Ain’t Me Babe, he started to sing more “normally”. He switched to a dinky little keyboard (with a dinky little sound) at song four, Tangled Up In Blue, which was not so great, but in the next song, John Brown, the bass player switched to upright bass and the sound suddenly improved, and Bob started to sing like an angel.

He was absolutely magnificent, and stayed on this form for most of the rest of the show. Interestingly, the songs from his last few albums were the best, and they received a very warm welcome from the audience, which I’m sure pleased Bob. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Cutest thing of the night: when he sang “you think I’m over the hill, you think I’m past my prime” in Spirit On The Water, there was a huge roar of dissent after each line from the otherwise reverential audience!

Nettie Moore was another highlight, with his singing unimpeachable. He only spoke towards the end of the gig, to say “Thank you friends!” and introduce the band and tell us where each player was from.

His keyboard playing, despite the cheesy Casiotone sound, was really rather effective, and he really seemed to be directing the band with it, and setting the feel for each song. In many of the songs there was an odd but effective stacatto style of playing from the lead instrumentalists, similar to some of the songs on his last two albums. The multi-instrumentalist, Donny Herron, did a really good job, but I never heard a single note of the pedal steel he played in some songs. He might have forgotten to plug it in.

The lead guitarist (Stu Kimball) ranged from brilliant (especially in some of the western swing numbers and a few of the rockers) to very uninspired in a few of the songs.

Like at most concerts these days, the drums were way too loud and reducing the compression on them and taking them down about 9dB would have made everything a lot more pleasant to listen to, sez DC the grumpy old man. One of the few big concerts I have been at in recent years where everything was balanced well was Neil Young on his Greendale tour, and we know Neil loves volume, but he clearly also loves things to sound right and doesn’t just let the sound engineers do the “80% drums and bass, 20% everything else” thing. It’s not that I hate drums, but I also love guitars and and banjos and vocals and I want to hear them all without feeling like I’ve been kidnapped by a Pimp My Ride researcher.

This wasn’t going to be a review, haha! I got carried away. Well, after it I almost considered trying to get tickets for the second show, so, yeah, it was good!

Here’s the song list copied from some online review:

1. Rainy Day Women
2. It Ain’t Me, Babe
3. Watching The River Flow
4. Tangled Up In Blue
5. John Brown
6. The Levee’s Gonna Break
7. When The Deal Goes Down
8. Things Have Changed
9. Desolation Row
10. Honest With Me
11. Spirit On The Water
12. Highway 61 Revisited
13. Nettie Moore
14. Summer Days
15. Ballad Of A Thin Man
(encore)
16. Thunder On The Mountain
17. Like A Rolling Stone

  • Bob Dylan – guitar, keyboard, harmonica
  • Donnie Herron – pedal steel, lap steel, violin, viola, mandolin, banjo
  • Denny Freeman – guitar
  • Stu Kimball – guitar
  • Tony Garnier – bass
  • George Recelli – drums

Review by DC Cardwell (www.dccardwell.com)

Bob Dylan at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, 17 Aug 2007 (photos DC Cardwell)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the kinds of photos my mobile phone took in 2007!

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