Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday night spirits

Back in 2002/2003 my friends and I were live music junkies. Growing up in Perth we were never short of a local band or two to satisfy our craving for a mid-week gig. Whether it was the Tuesday nights regular slot at 'The Paddo', to hear the Jeff Buckley-esque sounds of Nathan Gaunt, or the frequent Saturday night trips to the Swanbourne and the Grosvenor to catch Fourth Floor Collapse, there was quality and there was quantity.

Moving to London somewhat changed that. It wasn't that there was a lack of local talent to see, it was just too damn hard to get there to see it. A Tuesday night out in Camden meant catching the last tube home, which meant 4 hours sleep, something I wasn't really willing compromise on at the time. That's not to say that I never went to gigs. I can honestly say that if you love music, then London is one of the greatest cities in the world to be - probably only surpassed by New York.

In 5 years I saw more bands than I can recall. From Radiohead, to Bjork, to DJ Shadow, to Pearl Jam (5 times in 2 years), to Ryan Adams, the list is endless. Every great band I have ever loved I was lucky enough to see whilst I was living in London in that 5 year stint.

Coming back to Australia I knew that it was all going to change. Bands come here, but not that often. When they do come, the ticket prices are outrageous. I know they have to cover costs, Australia is a long way to come, etc etc etc, but there is a huge difference in paying £25 to see the Foo Fighters at the London Astoria (which holds about 1300 people) to $101.00 to see them at the monolithic structure which is Acer Arena.

So, come last night I knew what I had to do.

On Friday night my lovely friend Georgie had invited me to come with her to watch one of her best friends bands perform in a basement bar in Kings Cross. Fortuitously for me the venue happened to be about 100 metres down the road from my place, so who was I to refuse.

What I found in this dark basement bar was a beautiful musician producing some fantastic music. Ophelia of the Spirits was her name and she reminded me there and then why I love local live music. With a sound reminicent of an early version of Sarah McLaughlan, the haunting and powerful piano led tunes are still resonating with me today.

There is something fantastic about sitting three metres away from a singer/songwriter when she is belting out a beautiful tune on a piano which just gets me sucked right in.

So, I'll definitely go and see Ophelia of the Spirits again. Hopefully next time I'll have some footage to put up here so you can see what I mean.

Until then, bring on The National...

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