Dan Sultan and Alexander Gow (Oh Mercy) announced their tour together, Tash suggested we make a weekend of it and see them play in Castlemaine as she wanted to check out the Theatre Royal. Yesterday Mary and I drove to Ballarat to meet up with Tash and Michelle for lunch at a pub (also so Tash could watch the footy). It was good to briefly catch up with Michelle before she had to head down to Melbourne for a family dinner. After the footy match was finished we headed back to Tash's place where her work colleague Michelle met us and then we hit the road for Castlemaine.
Central Victoria is a bit of a foodie hotbed and we had a fantastic dinner at the Public Inn. They serve wine directly from the barrel and I had a delicious and filling potato gnocchi. After eating we headed to the Theatre Royal for the gig, and were let into the venue once the dining service was done for those who had tickets for dinner and the show. Both Dan and Alexander came out on stage at the start and played three songs together, including Icehouse's "Great Southern Land" and the Oh Mercy track "Keith St."
Dan left the stage and Alexander played his solo set on both acoustic and electric guitar. He started with "On The Run" and we got a mix of tracks from both albums: "Mercy Valley," "Hold Out Your Hand," "Blue Lagoon," "Lay Everything On Me," "Get You Back" and "Stay Please Stay." We were lucky enough to hear three new songs titled "My Man," "Europa" and "Lady Eucalyptus," as well as a few covers. Alexander was funny and charming throughout his set despite some rude, noisy people at the bar. He was also loving his eye drops, applying them a few times during the evening. He closed his set with Bruce Springsteen's "Racing in the Street" so that he, like Dan, would have a song about cars in his set (although he didn't understand the first two verses of the song).
After an intermission Dan came out to play his solo set starting on piano and then switching to guitar. His grandmother was in the audience (at the table in front of us) and he told stories throughout the night about his time in Castlemaine with relatives while he was growing up. Dan played songs from his two albums, including "Old Fitzroy," "Enemy," "Get Out While You Can," "Nyul Nyul Girl" and a very powerful rendition of "Roslyn." He came back out for an encore of a couple of songs and then invited Alexander to rejoin him on stage. They finished the night with covers of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" and Hoodoo Gurus' "I Want You Back." It was a really great show, and I had a brief chat with Alexander afterwards. I thanked him for explaining the lyrics to "Mercy Valley," and since Oh Mercy will be in the States while I am there hopefully I'll be able to catch a show if the timing works out.
We headed out into the cold and hit the road to drive back to Ballarat. Mary and I stayed the night at Tash's miner's cottage (or the igloo as we called it before the heater kicked in) and then drove back to Melbourne this morning. It's always nice to go on a little road trip, especially when I don't have a car here.