The third instalment of The Wild Wild Inner West Revue happened last night at The Vanguard in Newtown and the small crowd was treated to another excellent night of music. Bree De Rome, recently relocated to Sydney from the Gold Coast, opened the evening with a strong set of intimate country-tinged torch songs with some superb accompaniment from sidekick Peter on guitar. She’s a natural and personable performer who shifts into a different dimension when she starts singing. I’m looking forward to hearing more or her music and seeing her play around Sydney now she’s based here.
Jason Walker doesn’t need much of an introduction to those of you who follow the Australian Americana scene. With a brace of albums under his belt and a new one on the way with Lost Highway Records he played a captivating set of originals and a couple of covers. His voice has that classic country sound – not ragged and raw but beautifully stained with melody and the ability to convey stories and emotional gravitas in his songs.
Mark Moldre has been hard at work writing for his next album so this was a rare chance and possibly the last for a while to catch him live with his full band. He too cherry picked from a growing back catalogue, risking an audience uprising by playing the calypso bounce of ‘Killer Anxiety’ at an alt. country show – which of course was fully embraced. The incorporation of styles in Moldre’s music is what catches the ear when watching and listening to him perform. From Waitsian rattle and stomp to European-styled folk music and hillbilly raves he threads melancholic stories and cinematic lyricism into the mix.
Michael Carpenter played guitar and banjo with Moldre and due to an injured band member of The Cuban Heels he had to also get behind the drum kit for a third of their set. Curating the evening and playing multiple musical roles made for a busy evening for Carpenter but his affable and genuine stage manner and professional musicianship made it look easy. A guest drummer rounded out their set after an percussion-less middle bracket of songs which allowed the band to bring the evening home strong, high on hook-laden choruses that brought to mind The Jayhawks and all round great playing from the whole band.
Evenings like this are a labour of love for the bands and organisers and very little money is made – that of course isn’t the end-goal. Exposing fans of great alt.country and folk music to new artists and reminding them of the brilliance of others who have been around a while is what it is all about. Continuing to build a scene where songwriting and the playing ability of the musicians involved is experienced, promoted and celebrated. That needs people to get out and support this type of show when they can. Hopefully The Wild Wild Inner West Revue will saddle up again for another show and keep spreading the good music.