31 December 2018

Found in Ballarat

But then a real find. I had no idea what to expect, perhaps some indie band. I found my way to a cultivated bar located under a contemporary art gallery on Camp Street, dog-legged with history in central Ballarat, hosting Federation University, the Arts Academy and the rear entrance to the Art Gallery of Ballarat, buildings for the ANA, TLC and plenty of sturdy bluestone. (For two years during the Gold Rush, Ballarat was the richest metropolis in the world, so Ballarat has some impressive buildings). The access lane had nifty hanging arts overhead. The audience was mature and the drinks choice urbane and I was immediately taken by the music. This was a trio of vocals, piano and bass. Not indie, but classy balladic pop. For this, read renowned and satisfying songs from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder, Hall & Oates to Toto, Marvin Gaye to Aretha Franklin. Think Lately, Rich girl, Georgie Porgy, Natural woman, What’s going on, all sung and performed with ease and rich with their stories and passions and musical elaborations. Great stuff and richly rewarding. This is resonant chords in intriguing relationships, appealing melodies, touching lyrics. There’s a human scale to great lyrics that invites conviction. Deb took it all on with aplomb and she did it well with her own lyrics, too. This band didn’t just play the mature pop repertoire, but included originals. They had a period of acid jazz in the past and that appeared. Deb is proudly Aboriginal and sang a prize-winning song from one festival, amusingly observing that it was her first attempt to rap (accompanied with delicious verse/chorus pairings). And that simple pairing of piano and bass presented the feels nicely. But they are serious locals. Pianist Dave is mainly a drummer; bassist Andy also plays double. They all play in various incarnations and combinations in various styles, in studio and out. Nice to meet and hear these players. So, this was a rewarding discovery and a very pleasant afternoon in a gloriously historical town. Very nice.

DeborahN and the Trolley Boys performed at The Lost Ones Basement Bar. They comprised Deb Clark (vocals), Dave Clark (piano) and Andy Fry (bass).

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