14 January 2012

Pollards or sands?

I didn’t expect to return so soon, but this week it was dinner at the Pantry and Liam Budge, Caleb Wearne and Andy Campbell were performing under the heavily pollarded planes. The Pantry is a busy hub in a strangely quiet lane at the moment. It’s obviously January in Canberra, with pollies out of town and bureaucrats at the coast: this particular lane can be a busy hive, but not these evenings. Liam’s is a brooding voice with a pensive presence, wallowing in mellow takes on the great ballads like Body and soul and Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square, so perfect for this setting. Andy and Caleb fitted with a stylish accompaniment: smooth, sleek, but also interesting with lyrical solos and clear, ringing tones. But it was not all ballads. They could also be livelier but still subtly swinging with Night and day, a bit tongue in cheek with Fly me to the moon (who could take that one seriously?), playful with the great witty standards like Ain’t misbehavin’ and Gee babe ain’t I good to you and my favourite of the night, Love for sale. This is the great standards repertoire done with the humour and style of the era they were written for: suitable accompaniment for some boutique beers and great local wines. The sand at the coast may be enticing but I prefer this.

Liam Budge (vocals), Caleb Wearne (bass) and Andy Campbell (guitar) performed at the Urban Pantry in Manuka.

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