28 May 2023


We bassists have too little awareness of melody.  Even our awareness of chords is limited other than as movements and intervals, say, compared to a pianist who plays the colours.   It's understandable.  Our role is rhythm and we can play whole gigs with just a chord chart and it's common with many (primarily) single note instruments.  Nonetheless, melody and those chordal colours are central to well written music and Burt Bacharach is a key example in C20th popular music and I was astounded yet again at Smiths this night.  Greg Stott was leading a group playing the music of BB.  I was late, given some confusion over the starting time, but what I heard had me almost in tears.  Admittedly, it's music of my lifetime and that's of relevance, but the complexity and sheer inevitability of the tunes, their plays with time and abbreviated bars, their glorious unexpected colours and beautiful while self-evident melodies overwhelmed me.  The band was good too!  Great even.  Chris with a Beatle bass with pick and occasional finger style, thumping apt rhythms and grooves and plenty of expressive solos.  Nick a wonder on steady and determined beats that exploded with sharp fills.  Greg just shredding with his quick and neat guitar, and some delightful jazz solo takes on a few tunes.  El had a new 5-string e-violin that had me thinking viola until I heard of the low C string.  Her solos were expressive and right, but she stunned me with neat and glove-fitting fills, expertly played over Burt's captivating chords and melodies that just asked for such treatment in good hands.  And Liam who put the words, sometimes queried in our different world, of love and loss.  Anyone who had a heart had to be touched by his fluid jazz interpretations.  But the love, or the look of it, was filling the hearts at Smiths.  Not that it was a young crowd: this was of an era.  I mostly missed the first set, coming in on an instrumental Look of love (as I remember) then a break.  Then That's what friends are for, Wives and lovers, Alfie, Walk on by, Close to you, What the world needs now is love.  Just one of those would crown the work of virtually any songwriter.  Truly a master amongst  Lennon/McCartney, Dylan, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and the like.  But this was just some tunes.  I remember seeing Greg at the BB gig at the Royal Theatre here in Canberra in Oct 2015.  Just look at his playlist for that concert and fell the awe.  Given Burt's and the Greg's band, this was the concert I was most awaiting this year and I was not disappointed.

Greg Stott (guitar), Chris Pound (bass), Nick McBride (drums), Llewellyn Osborne (violin) and Liam Budge (vocals) performed music of Burt Bacharach at Smiths.

  • BB setlist Oct 2015
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