I’d never seen any Dave Graney gigs before. Yes Melbourne music #haters begin your loathing now. I know, I know. How can any Melburnian music-fan worth their salt not have experienced a Graney set? And fair dues too because from the opening chord of this set the lauded musician held the intimate room of loyal fans under his spell. Replete with a glint in his eye and slouched cowboy-style hat affixed this bloke knew what the heck he was doing…
Dave Graney. Acoustic & ‘by request’.
This gig was on the last day of the 2017 Leaps & Bounds Festival. It was a solo set in the backroom of the cosy Some Velvet Morning in Clifton Hill. The kind of local bar that everyone needs to have. The room was small but filled with both smitten followers and Dave Graney’s voluminous personality. He played both a 12 and normal six string guitar and the sound of both guitars and vocals were crisp and clear. The crowd was a mix of those that had been with Dave since the 80s and some who weren’t even born then!
Less front; more depth.
For a frontsman more used to 40 years of bravado, bands and ‘tude this must have been an unusual experience. It was a different Dave Graney before us on that tiny stage. Someone more raw; open; accessible. Exposed even.
There were personal tales behind the songs. We’ve heard the ‘whats’ before. Tonight was about the ‘whys’. Graney, probably unsurprisingly, turned out to be a great story-teller.
We found out that he pines to compose an album as great as Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby. Something that is almost a keystone or guiding-light to his craft.
We all laughed at his yester-year recantations of the sights and sounds of the seedy Spencer Street environs and all of it’s ‘characters’.
And most of us agreed that yeah, when you think about it – drugs are wasted on the young!
Graney also pithily quipped that his first band – The Moodists – was basically a wall of sound before he formed the Coral Snakes in ’89 and actually began using “chords and words”.
The set list was a bespoke amalgam of the known and the little-known much of it at the behest and request of the crowd. It was an impressive feat to roll out four decades worth of songs after a muse, a mull and a guiding strum or two. The songcraft was plainly evident too and minor chords were the order of the day.
So there will be other Dave Graney gigs for me for sure. I was likely to have been the only one in that room that hadn’t been before. But by the end of the gig all of us in the room were fans.
This guy ain’t an Australian music icon for nu’in! I’ll be baarrrck!
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