Live Review: Josh Pyke - The Tivoli

23 May 2012 | 10:57 am | Sam Hobson

Then, in a moment of greatness, a banjo appears, and we all sing along to Candle In Your Window and Say My Name before he announces that he’s doing an encore, and we laugh, and call him back for Love Lies and the great Vibrations In Air.

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Quite a swooning crowd gathers tonight at The Tivoli for Josh Pyke. It's an all ages show, too, so there are teams of young, giggling girls, loudly pronouncing silly things about their expectations for the evening. Oh, and it's seated, which is always a nice reprieve. And hey, everyone gets to see.

Jackson McLean kicks things off early, and his sound is crisp and cutting. Beginning on The Right Turns, and following that with All There Is To Wonder, his songs tell their stories with an old, seasoned soul; his voice delectably rich in timbre.

Next enters Gossling (aka Helen Croome), who sits quietly behind a giant keyboard as her band gathers around her. She begins with War, her sweetly curdled voice projecting remarkably. Heavy, soft-mallet toms beat out a sodden blues on Hazard before the evening's theme of big, fuzzy ballads concludes on a hymnal working of The Only Way. Croome explains that she's ordered her set like a mullet; “…with the business end at the front, party at the back…” and the crowd giggles as she launches into a raw, dewy cover of Chris Issak's Wicked Games, finishing on Wild Love.

Josh Pyke, without pomp, walks to his place, nods a quick smile to the crowd, and launches straight into Goldmines. Behind him, a chorus of purple spotlights lift like slow eyes, and roll and scan the stage, before turning their blinding gaze to the crowd. The gorgeous lilt of Pyke's voice is immediately captivating, and prettily tracked by a violin. Parking Lots is next, warm and immediate, powering straight into Buttons, and we begin to wonder if the man's even going to notice we're here. But, before launching into The Doldrums – Pyke's set tonight packed with songs he “doesn't get to play that often” – he pauses, flashes us a winning smile while he changes guitars, and begins to poke fun at Queensland, affecting a bogan accent, and having a conversation with this accent, which he later names 'Ross'. It breaks the ice nicely, Pyke lifting us next into a bittersweet working of The Summer. It sinks in that his songs have a wisened quality to them tonight; they're breathing differently. He's stretching them in new ways, and it's really paying off. Memories And Dust bowls into New Year Song, broken by Pyke's grinning, fiendish sense of humour, before Feeding The Wolves and a gorgeous duet with Gossling on Punch In The Heart. Then, in a moment of greatness, a banjo appears, and we all sing along to Candle In Your Window  and Say My Name before he announces that he's doing an encore, and we laugh, and call him back for Love Lies and the great Vibrations In Air.

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