This was a night of friends and collaborators celebrating the release of Shane Nicholson’s new solo LP Hell Breaks Loose. Nicholson produced Josh Rennie-Hynes’ debut album February and invited the songwriter down from Brisbane to open the show. Rennie-Hynes had only met local pedal steel player Jy-Perry Banks (Cruisin’ Deuces) that afternoon but the pair played together like they had a seasoned partnership. Songs came from his debut album plus a preview of a few tracks destined for its follow-up. It’s the effortless nature of Rennie-Hynes’ melodic and melancholic songs that wins one over. Warm and familiar even if heard for the first time they prove his talent is strong and on the rise.
Dubbed The General Waste, Shane Nicholson’s band was comprised of all fellow producers from Sydney. Matt Fell, Michael Carpenter, Josh Schuberth and Glen Hannah laid down the perfect musical bed for Nicholson to both showcase his new record and dip into his burgeoning back-catalogue. There were guests aplenty too with local singer/songwriters Katie Brianna providing backing vocals on a number of songs and Fanny Lumsden and Melody Pool duetting with Nicholson. The latter was a glorious cover of Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty’s Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around. Nicholson still retains some of the 90s rock laid-back t-shirt and jeans swagger of his early days but for a while now he’s found the sweet spot between that and the country/folk scene he now inhabits. The audience was a real cross-section of age and styles, encouraging to see the wide appeal of roots music in this day and age. From the rock brawn of Bury My Bones to the heart-wrenching solo spot Single Fathers the show covered all bases. It was tender, invigorating and slick without sacrificing the emotional element of songwriting and performance.