Thursday 29 October 2009 - Palace Theatre, Melbourne
On Thursday 29 October 2009 an army of loyal Josh Pyke fans made their pilgrimage to the Palace Theatre in Melbourne. Those dedicated enough to arrive early were rewarded with the supporting act of Fergus Brown, and then Gin Wigmore. Both were acts worth seeing in their own right.
However it was clear that Josh Pyke was the reason we were there. His set was split into three sections. Each section shed light on a different aspect of Josh Pyke's genius.
First he played some of his slower, more serious songs solo on an empty dimly lit stage, giving us a chance to appreciated the touching lyrics of his music.
In the next section his band was introduced and they played classic Josh Pyke hits rearranged in a way that he characterised as "playful". This section featured banjos, harmonicas and toy pianos, which only enhanced the quirkiness and nostalgic quality in his songs. The third section was the full band playing the hits which saw every one singing along to "Make You Happy", and indeed it did.
Josh Pyke is a captivating, honest performer who attracts a certain audience. There were no wolf whistles in this crowd, no moshing, pushing or crowd surfing at this gig. Instead, from the moment he began to play the crowd was spellbound, gazing upward and silently mouthing the words.
Rather then being a party, a Josh Pyke gig is a therapy session, a deep and meaningful with your best mate or a trip down memory lane. It's fun, cathartic and you can sing along.
It's impossible not to fall under his spell (and ever so slightly in love with him) when you see him live, and I'm not talking about his boyish charms. His songs are about life, love and loss, but they are really quirky and honest. They touch you in a way that makes you feel they were written as your own personal soundtrack to your life. As if they were written just for you. Seeing this live only emphasise the sincerity of his music.
"This song is about my life!" is what one avid fan exclaimed at me during his recent concert. I felt like correcting her. No! It's about my life! That's how we all felt. And there is something pretty special about a gig that can make you feel that.
3.5 out of 5.
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