The Vanguard, Newtown, Sydney
May 19, 2010


ShareOkay, so I’ve changed the names. It’s not an effort to protect the guilty, either. I’d just rather not connect this night’s ‘entertainment’ with these gentlemen’s past successes. I know this review will make me unpopular. Don’t get me wrong. It was a pleasant enough evening if pleasant is your thing. It’s just some of us can’t do pleasant.

The faithful were out in force. The sign on the door warned the venue was one hundred per cent sold out. Ed and Chris could have come out on stage and dropped a rather large and pungent turd and their efforts would be greeted with enthusiastic applause. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much what happened.

The thing is, I didn’t get in on a complimentary pass. I paid my money and I took my chance. Having been subjected to an evening of abject misery, I feel it is my duty to repay like with like.

The front of the room was packed with industry types and the well heeled. They sat at their tables enjoying the fare of the day and clinking there glasses in time with the music. If you arrived on a general admission ticket, you were herded up onto the balcony where, if you were more than two rows back, your vision was “restricted” (as in non-existent).

Not that that mattered. Chris and Ed didn’t do much in the visual department. They sat on their chairs and played and sung. Chris took the opportunity to gently rib the diners about eating while he played. He was probably not used to people being able to look at him while they ate.

There were no Saints songs. The boys droned on at one turgid pace all night (and despite a short set list it was a very long night). They played a mysterious kind of blues not born of heartache or suffering but of being middle aged, middle class and mediocre (and soon we’ll be dead). Whilst such existential angst is valid in terms of expression, it does come off as a bit of a “wah” to those forced to listen in. The Saints always sung about loss but they sounded as if they prayed for a chance to be redeemed by love. The songs on offer tonight had given up on any chance of redemption.

They weren’t even great songs. The best of them was about being the last choo choo train - if you can imagine that. They sounded professional enough but it was really like listening to 2JJ in 1976 in a world before they invented the Saints. I was at Chequers the night John Paul Young and members of Sherbet abused them for sounding like amateurs. I can understand wanting to prove those guys wrong but, honestly, tonight could have been Bailey, Kuepper and Braithwaite.

Chris knocked back more white wine, picked up a bass and attempted a Jamaican accent. He failed. The highlight of the evening was a version of “Send in the Clowns” where he succeeded in sounding like Crusty the Clown on the Simpsons.


Country (flag):