Mar. 1st, 2013

sharplittleteeth: (Default)
The St Kilda Memo is an old art-deco picture theatre being brought back to life as a music and performance venue. Fitting then, perhaps, that it was used as the place to bring Rowland S. Howard's music back to life for two night.

The venue is still finding its legs, I think. The doors opened late, the queue was slow because they were wristbanding punters instead of stamping them, and the on-stage lighting was bad enough for the performers to complain. The whole show had the shambolic air of a one-off.

Not the music, though. The music was tight. It ran in sets chronologically through Howard's life: the Young Charlatans, The Birthday Party, These Immortal Souls, and finally his solo work. The rotating band members were a who's who of Melbourne's underground music: Mick Harvey, Harry Howard, Spencer P. Jones, Tex Perkins, Gareth Liddiard, Hugo Race, all MCed by Dave Graney.

The music was tight. The music was great. Harry Howard got a bit emotional after singing 'Autoluminescence'.

And that's when I felt like a stranger in someone else's church. I never saw Rowland play live. I know a bit of his music, but not a lot. Intellectually I understand his importance to Melbourne's music heritage, but I was surrounded by people who had lived it.

The show ended abruptly at 11. The venue had hit its curfew. There was no encore. There was no 'Shivers'. Bowie played loudly over the PA while we shuffled out into the cool St Kilda night.

The twilight market was on outside Luna Park. Fires twirled in the darkness. We said goodbye to our friends and made our way home.

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