Live Review: Peter Bibby, HAMJAM, Rabbit Island

28 May 2015 | 3:51 pm | Richard Moore

"Peter Bibby is slurring into the mic, “We got a very special show tonight…” over his engraved National steel guitar"

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To the uninitiated, Peter Bibby is a folk character, instantly recognisable in flannel and akubra, glimpsed the previous night tending to an unfortunate soul levelled by security at the Rosemount Hotel. Tonight is his gig, starting early at Mojo’s with Rabbit Island and the Bibby corner of the room particularly rowdy.

Amber Fresh took the stage in all her glory as Nick Allbrook, assigned to guitar, hastily rubbed the condensation from his glass over his cheeks. Starting with satellite notes and a plush groove in the lower register, Rabbit Island beat along to the hollow click of Fresh’s Roland FP-4. With her girlish, ghostly, waifish voice, Fresh’s songs broke like waves on a beach in the sucking calm preceding a storm. While Fresh took a second to tune Allbrook broke out a quiet, cheeky Thunderstruck hammer-on accompanied by Bibby stomping the floorboards, but they were quickly quietened by Fresh changing back to keyboard to dedicate a Bibby tune on codeine and hunting rabbits chilled across her sparse digital piano.

HAMJAM took over with bludgeoning synths, a new wave falsetto and surfy riffs, Hamish Rahm his typical mouthy self and still recovering from a stint in Bali with mates from the scene, noting that his colleague was going to a day spa retreat following the gig: “I thought Bali was gonna be a day spa, but then Stephen found prescription drugs.”  A blur of phasers, feedback and dancing girls spilling white wine out of their glasses and Stephen Bellair was invited up to take over on bass, Rahm snagging his glass on the way: “Is this the apricot cough syrup…? Do you remember the three notes?” They cleaned up their slick set with Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game and ILoveMakonnen’s Tuesday.

Finally Peter Bibby is slurring into the mic, “We got a very special show tonight…” over his engraved National steel guitar, a length of white ribbon dangling from the neck, flannel, akubra, blue jeans and fly half down, “This is the last date of the tour — it’s been emotional. We nearly got raped and killed out there…!” — this story care of two miscreants met beside a creek known as Bloodsey and Rape-o, Bloodsey because he loves blood and Rape-o because… you can guess — “But we survived. One day we’re gonna be in the charts!” Playing jagged folk rock with favourite Hates My Boozin’ and new song Big Chook to a crowded Mojo’s, accompanied by Lyndon Blue on violin, Bibby sustained the myth. 

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