WHO: Gossling, Winter People & Hayden Calnin
WHEN: April 28th
WHERE: The Basement, Sydney
I'll start this off with a little home truth: my introduction to the voice of Helen Croome aka. Gossling was via the chorus of that ARIA chart ruler and certified triple platinum single by 360. There. I said it. Even within such an unexpected context, something about that voice was entrancing. It certainly justified further investigation. A quick youtubery of her repertoire and I'm sold. Off to the legendary Circular Quay venue the Basement it is, then.
The Basement is a well respected live music venue that was established in 1973. Following the stairs down into the belly of the building, the dimly lit lounge reflects the club's Jazz roots and sets the mood perfectly. Every inch of wall space is occupied by photos and tour posters illustrating the rich performance history of the premises. Tim Robbins and his band? Played there. Signed the poster. One photo on the wall really catches my eye. A drummer that looks uncannily like Chuck Norris. Imagine that guy's drum solo!
There is a modest crowd primarily engaged in wining and dining when Hayden Calnin takes the stage. He brings with him a guitar, some pedals and a gentle, humble temperature. A respectful hush passes over the audience. It is immediately evidenced that these songs are lovingly crafted and obese with talent. Looping over himself, building layers and textures with poetic precision, Hayden displays a mastery of his own voice. Leaning in close to whisper, drawing away from the microphone to scream.
Hayden reminds me utterly of the tale of Orpheus, drawing tears from the gods themselves through the overwhelming beauty of his tunes. With lyrics that speak of deals with the devil and pledging to right one's wrongs, Hayden proves he is also a storyteller and i believe every word he is saying. Some fool at the bar claims, "It's a bit too sullen for my liking" and i resist the urge to punch him squarely in the junk.
By the time Winter People arrive, the venue has filled and an assembly of patrons have taken residence on the floor, cross legged like kindergarten children awaiting story time. Winter People populate the stage with a warm and cheerful array of members. They marry folk with indie rock quite flawlessly. It is a treat to see a mandolin come out to play with the strings. The crowd responds warmly and it is a fitting precursor to the headline act.
Gossling's appearance is met with enthusiastic cheers and applause. Dressed smartly, she shares an ear to ear grin, stations herself at the keyboard and adjusts the mic to begin. The exclusive character to her voice is ever present and brings with it a personality to accompany thoroughly soothing tunes. Whilst venturing through songs off her critically acclaimed EPs, she switches from tickling the ivories to plucking the sheep guts effortlessly. "Wild Love", fresh off the new EP "Intentional Living" was a personal favourite.
Covers are always an interesting creature. They can at times outdo the original. They can also fall flat on their face. It was a magical treat when Gossling embarked on a stirring rendition of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game". Such a beautifully forlorn, personalised and flattering tribute. I wondered before the show if such distinct and quirky vocals could hold their own through an entire set. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. She did not falter or miss a single note, from beginning to end.
Upon concluding the night's performance, she invited any and all to come say hello. This sort of personable touch is a treat and commands respect for a performer. She confirms that the support acts are hand picked by herself, which makes perfect sense. After saying to her "Where the bloody hell is 360? You show up every night for his little tour and he doesn't extend the same courtesy? Rude.", she giggles, then turns and disappears into the subdued lighting of the room.
Philip Erbacher - AAA Backstage