Monday, November 15, 2010

Music and Conversation: Dave Faulkner with Lucky Oceans

Sonic Sessions
Fremantle Arts Centre
November 14, 2010

Dave Faulkner needs guitars
Listening in on Dave Faulkner’s conversation with Lucky Oceans Sunday night at the Fremantle Arts Centre, I was struck by the rare and privileged place he had reached in the 35-odd years he’s plied his trade from dive bars to concert halls around the world.
He’s one of the very few Australian rock artists – Paul Kelly, Nick Cave, Don Walker and Neil Finn (I’m cheating here) are the others that come to mind – who have pulled off the quinella of killer back catalogue and new material that keeps the punters coming back for more. 
Part of the reason is Faulkner’s ability to mine the hard bedrock of pop music that he understands innately. As he confessed to us, he’s a Beatles kid – an early Beatles kid at that – and it’s that sensibility which has carried him on his long, fruitful journey. Punk for him, as I suspect it was for most of its best artists, was more than anything a vehicle that let him recapture and legitimise the short, sharp rapture we got from our 45s and crystal sets in those achingly glorious days of It Won’t Be Long and Hold Me Tight.
Fortunately for us, Faulkner is a candid and well-organised musical storyteller, and his narratives of the genesis of his material, including his self-professed technical limitations (methinks he doth protest too much) and delight in rock and roll’s highways and byways were unfailingly revealing and insightful. One story, of how Miss Freelove 69 evolved from his love of the early rock musicals, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar was mesmerising. You felt like jumping up and shouting “like wow – wipeout!”
For the record, Faulkner and Oceans performed
Death Defying
, Come Any Time, the heartfelt The Stars Look Down from the Hoodoo’s new album, Purity of Essence, 1000 Miles Away, What’s My Scene?, My Girl and snippets of maybe a half-dozen others. By and large they’re not big pedal steel-type songs, and Dave’s stories didn’t need much prodding from either interviewer or audience, so Lucky generally kept his side of things spare and self-effacing. As always, though, when he did slip in a couple of hot licks, his playing is the easiest of tastes to acquire.
The Sonic Sessions are a terrific innovation by FAC, and (forgive me for this) they're lucky to have Oceans to lead us through them. And to have their beautiful, convivial courtyard to hold them in. As a cool summer night out, they take a lot of beating.

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