Itâ€™s been a very big week. Work is just nuts right now â€“ I mean, I have no idea how this week is going to go, given that I have 4 massive projects, that I havenâ€™t finished, that ought to have been finished on Friday. I have a full 24 hours tomorrow, so Iâ€™ll try and make a dint before the crazy starts on Monday. Because there most certainly will be crazy.
Wednesday night saw me flying solo at the Annandale to bear witness to Jason Molina and the mighty Magnolia Electric Co. Iâ€™ve been looking forward to this gig for a good while, but Wednesday night, driving along the M4, I had to give myself a pep talk to avoid turning around and heading back home. Why do bands insist on shows on school nights? Does my grumpiness about this mean Iâ€™m getting old? I think it had to do with the flying solo bit too â€“ Iâ€™m all good on my own at shows, but I get tetchy and bored between sets when I am. This is why I didnâ€™t actually walk into the Annandale until around 9:30pm â€“ 15 minutes before the band came on.
I think Iâ€™ve already said here a few times, when it comes to live music venues in Sydney, I have a lot of love for the Annandale. Itâ€™s one of those places where you can experience a true pub gig, and it was honestly the perfect venue for Molina et. al. on Wednesday night. The lighting is a bit off, and the sound can sometimes be kinda loud (in that bad way), but for true live music authenticity you canâ€™t beat it really. Theyâ€™ve also done something good to the floor â€“ I managed to get out of there Wednesday night without losing either of my shoes to whatever sticky goo usually lives there.
I was surprised when I got there that I made it to the front fairly easily â€“ the venue was reasonably full, but people were hanging back a little. When the band came on, even though I was perhaps 2 people back from the stage, I had plenty of breathing space on all sides.
And it was amazingly great. Molina writes some of the most beautifully constructed songs youâ€™ll ever hear, and he also tells a great story. The love and regret and melancholy and humour and experience in his writing is palpable. And thereâ€™s something truly addictive about the sounds he/they create.
Some observations â€“
â€¢ Jason Molina is LITTLE. And he looks a little like James Belushi. Or is that just me? But that VOICE â€“ holy moly. He could sing anything to me and Iâ€™d be puddles.
â€¢ I was completely unprepared for what amazing guitarists theyâ€™d be. I know they donâ€™t have a completely solid line up, but Jason Groth on lead guitar was truly amazing.
â€¢ Trumpet FTW. Always.
â€¢ Speaking of Jason Groth â€“ I think I might be a little bit in love with him. A visit to his MySpace has not helped this at all.
â€¢ There wasnâ€™t a great deal of chit chat, but they all just seemed like such nice guys.
And I think I managed to get the set list. I canâ€™t be sure this is 100% correct â€“ if you see something wrong here lemme know, okay? Also, I tried to pinpoint the Songs: Ohia stuff, but I canâ€™t be sure I got that right, either. Is it only me who thinks the line between Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia is decidedly blurry? Anyway, there was a lot from Fading Trails (which youâ€™d expect, really) and a few from What Comes After the Blues, which I was pretty happy about. Here it is â€“
Talk To Me Devil, Again
Leave the city
Down The Wrong Road Both Ways
Hard To Love A Man
Destiny (Songs: Ohia)
Oh, Grace (Songs: Ohia)
Iâ€™ve Been Riding with the Ghost
The Dark Donâ€™t Hide It
Shiloh (Songs: Ohia)
They only encored once, and it was only one song â€“ damn the residents of Annandale and their complaints about noise, and damn noise curfews to HELL. I wanted more and more and more, and so did everyone else.
It was amazing. Like, I was very happily blown away. And this is the sort of music show I love â€“ a lot of people together in the once place because they love a band. And they were listening. And isnâ€™t that what seeing live music is about?
Dear Jason Molina,
Thanks for Wednesday night. I walked into the Annandale feeling a bit meh, and walked out on top of the world.
You didnâ€™t play Northstar Blues or Farewell Transmission. I can forgive you that, though, because Hammer Down and The Dark Donâ€™t Hide it were fucking off the charts amazing.
Your songs are like soul food. Just so you know.
See you soon (I hope),