I had two goals this week. To get lots of rest post hospital and to go to Bob Evans live at the Bella Union (at the Trades Hall in Lygon Street Carlton) on Friday night. The last time he was at the Bella Union, I was on a plane from England to America. I achieved both of these things – rested and went to his show, and this morning, though tired, I’m happy. Music truly is good for the soul.
Note – I may be inconsistent with referring to Bob as Kevin in this post. Bob Evans and Kevin Mitchell are the same person, yeah.
The Bella Union is the perfect venue for a gig – it’s intimate, drinks are cheap, and there are tables and chairs, plus armchairs and couches. I’ve often thought of taking my own chair (one of those walking sticks with a fold out seat would be perfect) to a stand up gig, and so I am thankful for any venue with a chair that is close to the stage – the Bella Union definitely met my needs! I went on my own (like I do for most gigs) and sat next to a nice couple who are also into a lot of Aussie music. I also met a blog reader (hi Jackie!) and a dermatologist who saw me speak at the hospital last month.
The gig was opened by young Brisbane singer Thelma Plum and her guitarist Andrew, who has no surname. I adored her from her first song. Thelma Plum – how could I have missed her? Methinks I need to listen to more Triple J (she was a J Award finalist) – she is wonderful! I think she’s the next big thing.
Her voice moves between angelic and ocker, her strine sounding a little Missy Higgins. Her clothes echoed this – she wore a pretty white dress paired with Blundstone workboots. She is strikingly beautiful. And very tall. I loved everything about her, and look forward to her upcoming EP – she told me it’d be out soon. You can download her songs via Triple J Unearthed.
Bob Evans, as I expected, was wonderful. He played a few songs from his upcoming album Familiar Stranger (due out in March 2013) including a heartfelt song dedicated to his daughter called Wonderful You (which, he said, is something you don’t do in the rock and roll industry, but “fuck that”). My favourites were Hand Me Downs, Someone So Much, Waiting Room, Sadness and Whisky, Wonderful You, Don’t You Think it’s Time and Nowhere Without You.
There were a few technical glitches, and despite jokes about not being a professional musical, Bob Evans handled these moments with excellent improvisation and humour. In Hand Me Downs, his guitar lost power twice – the cord fell out. He realised things weren’t working because he hadn’t turned his guitar lights on. And then, cutting short a beautiful true acoustic rendition of Don’t You Think it’s Time (where he got off stage and sang amongst the audience), a fire alarm sounded. He got back on stage, found the key of the fire alarm on his harmonica (“it’s G”) and then mimicked the sound. I think the highlight of the show was The Fire Alarm song – the made up on the spot lyrics punctuated with choruses of fire alarm mimicking – absolutely exclusive to this show! It was very funny. A video is here.
After the show, Kevin met with fans, signing CDs (each audience member got a free Double Life CD) and teatowels, and posed for photos. The time spent with fans, plus regularly thanking us for spending our money and watching him play (“it always blows my mind that people watch me play”, he said, later adding “Missy Higgins is also playing tonight, you may have enough time to catch the end of her show”) indicates how much he enjoys playing music and values his fans. He was absolutely lovely. He gave me a hug (I’m still quite sore and I appreciate him being very gentle) and asked whether I’m feeling better, and hoped the couch was ok for me. I thanked him for the interview, and apologised for the questions being potentially too personal – he said he didn’t mind answering them for someone he knows.