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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] The Counting Crows @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne 03/04/2023

Review By Daron Jacks

I had no expectations about seeing the Counting Crows live, I simply had no idea what to expect.

Like many, I was a Mr Jones Crows fan. There was hardly a household in the ‘90s that didn’t have a copy of August And Everything After in their CD player. Remember those old things?

But that was 30 years ago and having flogged the CD it soon gathered dust on the shelf like so many other great albums before and after them.

Sure, I enjoyed their cover of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, but I never really stuck with the Counting Crows. And after taking in two hours of their live show at the Palais, I now regret not soaking up the next three decades of their discography.

But I will now.

Checking out the audience filing into any gig usually gives you an understanding of the longevity of the band, and type of fan. So, seeing plenty of middle-aged Melbourne making their way to a seat was guaranteed, but many twenty and thirty somethings were also there.

Maybe they grew up with their parents flogging that fantastic debut album way back when, but their enthusiasm for the later songs only reinforced the Crows have been prolific and no less bloody good musos for many years and counting (pun intended!).

Frank Turner (playing solo without his Sleeping Souls band) warmed up the audience and detailed his 35-year love-hate relationship with his father and the unexpected reconciliation when angry dad came out as transwoman Miranda, hence his song Miranda was a standout.

Counting Crows opened with Hard Candy and quickly got Mr Jones out of the way. It set a tone for songs given some improvisation and not a rigid replay of the recorded version.

Lead singer Adam Duritz entertains with his engaging banter and clear humility, so much so the sold-out Palais felt like and intimate venue.

Colorblind and Omaha soon followed, and a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s Start Again. Big Yellow Taxi got the audience up, but Duritz brought it down with Miami, his story of breaking up with a girlfriend on tour, but not telling her yet.

As the Crows meandered through their albums showcasing their musicianship and storytelling, my wife summed it up perfectly as she leaned in and whispered, “I feel Like I’m at a musical”.

And it did. Stories that touched the heart with sadness and happiness, and the relaxed nature with which each song was delivered by Durtiz talking to the audience.

Rain King once again got bums off seats and for more singing and an encore of Hanginaround and Holiday in Spain closed out two hours on stage.

The Counting Crows are so much more than Mr Jones. They are worth every cent to see live and while it may have taken 30 years to break that cherry, I now have 30 years of songs to explore, and based on their enthusiasm on this Butter Miracle Tour, there’s bound to be more to come.

They still have one show left in Melbourne at Hamer Hall this Thursday before heading to Sydney, so don’t walk, run to snap up these tickets.  Easter just got a whole lot better.

You can still catch COUNTING CROWS at the following dates:

April 6th – Hamer Hall, Melbourne

April 9th – Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Arpil 11th – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 

Tickets available here

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] The Smith Street Band @ Macedon Railway Hotel, Macedon – 23/04/2022

They were literally hanging from the rafters at the Macedon Railway Hotel as The Smith Street Band powered through a set loaded with classics and new songs.

Like every other band that suffered through Covid, Smith Street had to postpone last year’s tour after lockdowns pulled the plug on them hitting stages around the country.

And the 'spicy cough' took another swing at the weekend’s gig with support act the Money Boys succumbing to the Rona and replaced by Joe Guiton, who warmed up the audience.

The Smith Street Band didn’t waste any time setting the tone as they launched into the anthemic and unmistakeable guitar intro of I Still Dream About You for the first of many crowd favourites.

Will Wagner, possibly Australia’s most underrated hard-rocking storyteller, captivates with emotive lyrics delivered in equal amounts of singing and shouting that has the band on par with other great Aussie pub rock acts of the ‘80s, such as Hunters and Collectors.

It’s a fine act that can have you one minute absorbing a sad tale (Young Drunk) before belting out a killer chorus that has an overjoyed audience arm in arm all singing “tonight I’m getting young drunk!”, of which many of us did.

It didn’t take long for sweaty young blokes to burst into a mosh and see bodies swinging off the pub’s rafters and sliding on spilled beers.

The Railway Hotel is fast-gaining a reputation for attracting great live music in a venue perfect for an intimate acoustic session or roof-raising rock show, or chin-ups, which there was plenty of this night.

The energy in the room turned up as fast as beers went down with Wagner bellowing out hit after hit as the band move seamlessly from song to song.

Wagner’s physical presence on stage is as big as his voice, wielding his guitar around like a chainsaw and dripping sweat that invites punters to get up close and party.

They delivered over a decade of hits, including Death To The Lads, Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams, Passiona, and a taste of what’s to come on their soon to be released new album, that left us wanting more after so many false starts to seeing them on stage again.

The Smith Street Band is touring regional Victoria and you would be mad to miss an opportunity to see these powerful pub rockers in action.

Friday April 29 – Torquay Hotel, Torquay * 

Saturday April 30 – Volta, Ballarat *

Friday May 6 – Kay Street, Traralgon ^

Saturday May 7 – Pier Bandroom, Frankston ^ 

Friday May 13 – Westernport Hotel, San Remo ^

with special guests

*Money Boys ^Cheap-Skate

Tickets on sale now

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