Urthboy at the John Curtin Hotel

Last weekend saw Urthboy performing at the in the John Curtin Hotel bandroom. Across the road from the Melbourne Trades Hall and next door to 2 universities the hotel is named after an early Labor Prime Minister. Needless to say the hotel itself has a left wing feel and I’m told it was a regular haunt for union officials notably former Prime Minister and renouned drinker Bob Hawke. As far as a drinking venue or a local the Curtin would be perfect. Cheap meals and well priced beer no doubt brings a huge number of students through the door to the pub style bistro.

The bandroom itself has only been operating as a live music venue for around 6 months and advertises itself as having a state of the art soundsystem and lighting set up. The layout is a very standard upstairs style with stairs in the middle of the dancefloor and bar at the back. It’s a proven design and $14 jugs of beer and $5.50 wines make for a cheap gig out.

The performance of Urthboy though was a little disappointing. Wether the crowd came expecting something else, the new songs not striking the right chords or Urthboy not working the crowd, it lacked the vibe of prior performances. His older stuff wasn’t met with much fanfare while the more popular songs such as Modern Day Folk, We Get Around and Nothing That I’d Rather Do were hits. The support vocals of Jane Tyrrell were exceptional, her haunting voice added a great dimension to the performance.

Perhaps the problem with the performance was the crowds expected unfamiliarity of the new songs. Bizarrely what seemed to be the introduction skit of the song Spitshine was done after the song rather than before. The other issue was the volume of the music. Standing a few metres in front of the sound desk It really could have done with a few more decibels of volume, letting the bass fill what is a large room that wasn’t completely packed with people.

All in all, the concert had room for improvement but at $20 a ticket and served up with cheap beer it is hard to not think the value was good. I hope that Astronomy Class in June don’t make the same mistakes.

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