Live Review: James Reyne

14 July 2015 | 2:13 pm | Hayley May Casey

"There was no heart in it, making for a mediocre performance."

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James Reyne greeted a packed venue from a stool up on the stage… and there he stayed for the rest of the set. Starting right on 10pm – as promised – to a crowd that consisted of mostly over-35s, he laboured through the set-list with a three-piece band. There was a lack in energy and enthusiasm and this was largely due to minimal movement and interaction, the relaxed nature of both the crowd and Reyne diffusing his notoriously romantic sound.

At one point a heckler challenged Reyne by hurling some drunk gibberish at him but Reyne couldn’t be bothered with that noise and hit back with the all-time Australian comeback: “Piss off, mate.” This was also the only time in the set where you could decipher what Reyne said. It’s that unique voice that affords him the ability to continue making music, a somewhat old-school notion of his craft, with the entertainment value (or lack thereof) leaving us feeling like the show could have been at a one-horse-town pub as background noise, not a headline act.

Reyne had every one of these storm-affected revellers enthralled for all of ten minutes when he played Downhearted and Reckless back-to-back. This diminished quickly however when an obligatory plug for the new album was made. I can’t see it burning hot as the cavalier attitude we saw at the show surely translates into the new release, while the classics are still winning hearts through pure nostalgia. Reyne finished on Oh No Not You Again, which was a wise choice – refer to aforementioned point about nostalgia.

While there was nothing notably ‘wrong’ about this gig, there was no heart in it, making for a mediocre performance. 

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