Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ryan Bingham & Vale Gough Whitlam

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Ryan Bingham live at Northcote Social Club – 21 October 2014

On the evening of the day of the death of the greatest (in my lifetime)Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, my mind was occupied by memories of his time in Office, as I trammed it up to Northcote Social Club for my evening’s entertainment.

As I have not followed the career of Ryan Bingham and only possess his first album Mescalito, I profess to being somewhat ignorant of the rest of his releases, other than the song he wrote for the movie Crazy Heart - The Weary Kind - for which he won an Academy Award, so it was with an open mind I attended his show and not strictly as a fan.

There were more than enough fans to cover for my lack of that status; in fact the audience was a good crowd, enthusiastic and friendly. Don’t expect a detailed review, let alone a set list,  as more than half the songs he sang were new to me and I didn’t catch their titles.

In person Ryan Bingham is pleasing to look at and he has a natural charm that won over the already indulgent audience even more.

He was accompanied by his band, and I must say they were excellent. It was more rock than country, flavoured with Ryan Bingham’s unique take on Americana. He has a grainy husky old man’s voice that sounds remarkable issuing from such a young person.

I don’t know how long the show lasted as I left at around 10.4o, not because I was bored, but due to feeling faint in the oppressive heat of the band room and feeling the effects of standing on concrete for a couple of hours.

Songs I remember from the show are La Malaguena (a Mexican mariachi song, purportedly the first song Bingham ever learned to play), Dollar A Day (from Mescalito) Tell My Mother I Miss Her So and Hallelujah.

Back to the death of Gough Whitlam at the ripe old age of 98, I still vividly remember his days in Office and even after all these years feel angry at his Dismissal. It will be a long time before Australia has a leader as witty, intelligent and sound thinking as Gough Whitlam. Perhaps persons of his calibre are not being made any more.

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