There is a feeling and mix of old world charm and eclectic eccentricities as one enters Smith’s Auditorium. I find my mood and body collapses into a peaceful groove and out of the knotted lane of life. Arriving early is obviously the key strategy as I was able to find a suitable seat with ease from where I could take full advantage of camera and sound angles to bolster my experience.
Also most fortuitous is that Dave and the band are running through their sound checks and finalising the set lists for the night. This gave me an extra insight into the technicalities that face musicians before a performance. I see Dave and note his attire for the evening, smart, dapper and suave come to the fore however my mind wanders and I find myself asking about the pristine clean and clear crease in his pants legs…now that’s odd and I wonder at my train of thought as I come back to reality…meanwhile the band leave the stage.
Some thirty minutes later Graney enters – stage left – picks up his faithful stick and plays a mellow, slow, melodic tune…I close my eyes and sink into the soul of the strings as he slides across them like a master.
At the end of this I am greeted with a “Thanks for coming everyone, tonight we are going to do weird things together! We’re going to do some old weird songs and some other weird things and like the night’s just going to be weird”…I chuckle thinking this is going to be great!
Graney is then joined on stage by the mistLY members : Clare Moore on drums, Stu Thomas on bass guitar and Canberra’s very own Robyn Casinader on keyboards.
The first set delivers the fan base hits such as ‘Night of the Wolverine’ from the album of the same name released in 1993 and introduces two digital releases from 2018 – ‘Gloria Grahame (fuck or die)’ and ‘Song of Life’.
Between each song Graney begins a commentary and delivers anecdotal musings with comedic content true to the “Dave Graney” larrikin persona that has been his forte since entering the music industry.
A break between sets gives the attendees opportunity to visit the merchandise stand. Dave takes time out of his break to come and sign copies of Vinyl’s, Cd’s and books for those who purchased and makes time to chat and shake hands with those who don’t.
The second set is astounding in content with some old material but then a set of three tracks that just grabbed me and took me on the weirdest combinations of fulfillment and awe.
Graney asks “Have you heard of The Rolling Stones from the UK?…You know because one can never be to sure…but they’re international now…have a great young composer named Keith Richards…well this is a song about him!” He performs an unreleased track entitled ‘Ultra Keeef’ – it is bold, brash and confronting.
A couple of songs further into the set and we delve into the sixties with a masterful rendition of ‘Codine’ by Buffy Saint-Marie. I am now heavily engaged in the moment and feel the true muscianship of Dave Graney and the mistLY. I am compelled to enter the world of Graneys pure commitment to delivery through vocal tenacity and when the song ends it leaves me craving for more.
I’m not the only one – this was to be the last song of the night but the crowd went into an uproar calling for one more song and there were more than one set of boots stomping in appreciation and anticipation of getting it.
The callback proves successful and we are treated to what is arguably Graney’s most definitive hit from the 1995 album The Soft ‘n’ Sexy Sound – ‘Rock and Roll is Where I Hide’.
The night ends with us visiting the merchandise stand yet again and purchasing the album ‘Super Modified’ by Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist. The CD is signed by the man and he poses with me for a photograph.
The ‘weird’ night of ‘weird songs’ and ‘weird things’ ends on a high. I realise that although these songs don’t appeal to everyone, I have a new found appreciation for an artist and a group that I have previously not had much exposure too.