Country / Gig Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Kinky Friedman @ The Basement, Sydney (20/10/16)

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They sure don’t make ‘em like Kinky Friedman anymore. Singer, songwriter, author, raconteur, comedian and winner of the Male Chauvinist Pig Award from the National Organisation of Women in 1973. He’s still peddling the same material that he has for the last forty years though that was tempered somewhat by the release last year of the more sombre and reflective album The Loneliest Man I Ever Met.

Luke O’Shea warmed up the still-dining audience with a set of songs that covered the ANZAC spirit, tool sheds, morning birdsong and the simple power of love. With his distinctive keening Australian accent and way of seemingly talking and singing at the same time he proved to be a laid-back and entertaining country entree to the Kinkster.

A Kinky Friedman show is a curious happening. Part musical gig, part standup comedy with a dash of serious spoken word and book reading. There’s bawdy, gloriously non-PC humour, melancholy and pathos; all mixed up in the unique individual of Richard Samet Friedman. He played the classics such as ‘Sold American’, ‘Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed’, ‘Asshole From El Paso’, ‘Ol’ Man Lucas’ and Nelson Mandela’s favourite Kinky song ‘Ride ‘Em Jewboys’ – interspersing them with cuts from the new album and a moving cover of Peter La Farge’s ‘The Ballad Of Ira Hayes’.

We got stories of meeting Eric Clapton during downtime from the Rolling Thunder tour in LA, running from a stage invasion of “cranked-up lesbians” and smoking pot with Willie Nelson. You found yourself laughing and cringing in equal amounts but it was refreshing to spend ninety minutes with such an enigmatic and uniquely individual entertainer. There were a couple of moments where lyrics and chords were forgotten (quickly resolved with another shot of tequila) and he admitted that he’s becoming hard of hearing. Age catches up with all of us but Kinky just keeps on being Kinky.

Chris Familton

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