Live Review: Kim Salmon

18 January 2016 | 3:26 pm | Joel Lohman

"There are few crowds from which the words, "This is an old Beasts Of Bourbon song," would elicit such a rapt response."

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Many a music fan laments the death of pub rock in Australia. So it is a pleasure to watch someone who has been playing music since the glory days of pub rock play rock music in a pub. Kim Salmon's two 45-minute sets feel generous and celebratory and he plays to a packed room that's populated by characters we swear we've seen on Long Way To The Top or RocKwiz. (There are few crowds from which the words, "This is an old Beasts Of Bourbon song," would elicit such a rapt response.)

Salmon, bassist Loretta Wilde and drummer Michael Stranges, each with a red bandanna tied 'round their necks, take their places before tearing into an instrumental jam that will bookend both of their sets tonight. Salmon draws widely from the extensive and endlessly impressive catalogue he has amassed over 35 years with various bands, collaborations and solo projects.

Drawing most heavily from his forthcoming solo album My Script, Salmon displays the fruits of a life spent exploring the possibilities of drums, bass and electric guitar, wrenching sounds of disgust and delight from his battered black-and-red Telecaster. The Scientists' classic Frantic Romantic provides a rapturously received highlight, as does the gorgeous Come On Spring from Antenna, Salmon's project with Dave Faulkner of Hoodoo Gurus.

Salmon's voice has held up surprisingly well through the decades, the singer capably — and frequently — leaping from his reedy falsetto to his rich, deeper registers and back again. Salmon demonstrates that his songwriting chops and wit both remain intact on new songs such as Fucking Shit Up and You're Safe With Me (lyric: "That don't mean safe from me") before he and his band close out their second set with a raucous version of new single Already Turned Out Burned Out (Fast Burn), a song about people who are "oh so young and burned out". Salmon is neither of those things, and thank god for that. Many great bands form with the simple objective of entertaining friends. It is a joy to watch an old master like Salmon still achieving that worthy goal a few decades into his career. 

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