Live Review: Bob Evans

29 October 2018 | 3:01 pm | Stephen Munchenberg

"You have to hand it to Mitchell - he likes to mix things up."

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Bob Evans last performed in Adelaide at the Beer & BBQ Festival just a few months ago. While that show successfully warmed up a well-inebriated festival crowd, a solo gig in the main room at The Gov did seem a little ambitious – and attendance tonight was at less than half the venue’s capacity. This did not dampen spirits thankfully, because the turnout provided quality over quantity and the performance was fantastic. A great time was had by all.

Bob Evans is the alter ego of Jebediah frontman Kevin Mitchell, who has released five accomplished albums under that moniker over the last 15 years. He has also recently released Full Circle, a greatest hits album (or “best of” as it’s called in the absence of actual hits), which serves as a nice introduction to his solo work for those who haven’t yet caught on.

Taking to the stage flanked by two female musicians and clutching a bottle of wine, Mitchell quickly swigged directly from the bottle. The wild cheers that followed prompted the advice for us not to peak too soon – as well as a quip that we shouldn’t applaud his alcoholism.

After opening the show with the title track from his 2009 album Goodnight, Bull Creek! Mitchell thanked local support act Kelly Menhennett – “How good was she!? It’s a hard thing coming on stage after hearing a voice like that, so I’m just going to croak my way through my set and hope for the best”.

You have to hand it to Mitchell - he likes to mix things up. Previous tours have included the full band experience (with guitarist extraordinaire Ashley Naylor from Melbourne band Even on one occasion), solo acoustic gigs and even a duet tour with Josh Pyke. Much of tonight’s show was as a trio and after Nowhere Without You Mitchell introduced Esther Henderson on violin and Clio Renner on keyboards. Fan favourite Me & My Friend was beautifully enhanced by the addition of these extra musicians. Sublime backing vocals were also a feature of Wintersong (with Mitchell joking that he felt like he was in the movie A Star Is Born).

Introducing Don't Wanna Grow Up Anymore, the singer said that he was going to play a song from a record that not many people bought – but the song gets a "second go" on the new compilation. After Hand Me Downs, he confessed that during the song he had realised that “this shirt that I'm wearing tonight, I'm wearing it in the film clip - that song came out in 2009. It still fits - just.”

The show also featured a ‘Bob Evans song raffle’ segment, which involved a lucky prize draw allowing the winner to request the next song (although this was limited to his own material and explicitly precluded any songs by Slayer or Parkway Drive). First up was Darlin', Won't You Come? from 2006’s Suburban Songbook, while the winner of ticket Blue 56 selected Don't Give Up On Yourself, from his most recent studio album, Car Boot Sale. Excellent choices.

A brief encore saw the night conclude with a ‘cover’ of Jebediah’s Harpoon.

After an entertaining and interactive show, Mitchell stood at the merch desk and chatted away with fans until their desire for selfies, signatures and songs was satisfied.