+ 78 SAAB

Annandale Hotel, SYDNEY
May 22, 2004

With tonight's bill at Sydney's Annandale Hotel headlined by the driving force behind both Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt (both considered as seminal 'alt.country' groups) Mr Jay Farrar, to open the evening were Tim Malfroy and 78 Saab.

Unfortunately, I missed the early part of Tim Malfroy's set, where he was joined throughout by guests including members of local Sydney band Holy Soul, but was fortunate to witness Tim perform several selections from his debut EP and impressive covers of Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears" and Townes van Zandt's "'I'll be there in the Morning".

Next were 78 Saab, whose well crafted pop/rock sounds are impressive in their own right but were possibly mismatched on this kind of evening.

Then came the one and only Jay Farrar, who opened his set solo before being joined by his guest on this first Australian tour, Mark Spencer from The Blood Oranges.

Jay played several selections from "Sebastopol" and "Terroir Blues" (his first two albums since the end of Son Volt, the band which he led, which followed his tenure as leader of Uncle Tupelo). Among them were "Feel Free", "Make it Alright", "Voodoo Candle", "California" and "No Rolling Back".

Mark Spencer's assistance was invaluable, lending a hand on lead guitar and lap steel guitar.
Jay also dipped into his Son Volt back catalogue and performed "Windfall" (recently recorded by The Flying Burrito Bros, and which was performed live by Steve Earle on the previous Oz tour prior to his most recent visit), "Tear Stained Eye" (also recorded by The Flood and, more notably, 'country pop confection queen' Kasey Chambers) and "Drivin' the View" were aired.

Jay closed with an amazing take on Townes van Zandt's "White Freightliner Blues".

For Son Volt and Jay Ferrar fans this gig more than satisfied and would have won over the uninitiated. - Simon Li