Saturday, 23 December 2017

Dave Wright & the Midnight Electric Christmas Spectacular @ Grandview Hotel 15 Dec 2017

2017 was a busy year for Dave Wright & the Midnight Electric, so it was fitting they ended it with a packed Christmas Spectacular at Fairfield's Grandview Hotel. Myles O'Neill Shaw, stalwart host of PBS 106.7 FM's 5 Ft High and Rising on Saturday mornings, spun a mix of alt-country Christmas tunes. Ben Mastwyk played a set of acoustic country that've packed 'em in at any Texas honky tonk. The Woodland Hunters followed with a righteous blend of Hank meets Hendrix before DWME sent Santa scurrying back up the chimney with a six-string roar. Dave later said he thought the band's never sounded better.

Amen to that, chooch.

The set was a scorcher. Kicked off with 'Coming Home', the opening track of 2017's HWY album. Three cuts from 2014's Lucky Country -- 'Hang Me High', 'Into the Big Blue' and 'Father' -- got the crowd singing along before Dave introduced the new 'Hazelwood' with a thought for the families of those left unemployed by that Victoria town's shuttered power station. Fan favourite 'Streets of This Town' led into an elegaic 'Avenues of Honour before 'Drinking Days' knocked everyone on their asses. The next two songs were the evening's emotional high points: a raucous, prayerful 'Terry & Jenny' followed by a merciless 'Blacktown'. A rare one-two of very different driving songs -- 'Happiness' and 'HWY' -- closed the main set. Dave begged for unnecessary patience before an unrehearsed full-band cover of Tom Petty's 'Crawling Back to You' led into a celebratory final trio of 'Sweet Caroline', 'Rain' and 'Lucky Country'.

Ben Mastwyk knows how to wear a cowboy hat. His Mornin, Evenin LP's a cracker, too.

Ben picks the first winner of a gift from beneath the DWME tree with help from a relaxed Dave and Santa's loveliest elf, Dave's sister-in-law Nicky. That's Myles between the laptop and Christmas trees on the right.

The Woodland Hunters played songs off their latest release, Let's Fall Apart. A great band, with ample swagger.

A much more formal Dave helps Andrew Tanner of Woodland Hunters pick another winner.

DWME's set of songs spotlighted the guitar chops of Mr Robert Barber. 

Daryl Johnson does his Benmont thing ...

Rock and roll may be festive in December only. 

The DWME family was out in full force: Rita, Piera, Aggie, Rebecca, Mary, Jamie and Stew.

Rebecca was a lucky -- and happy -- winner.

Best-dressed Santa and a dramatically lit elf.

Dave Wright & the Midnight Electric.

The cosy Grandview was high energy, both on-stage and off.

The Electric horns: John Bryant and Anthony Foon.

Everyone's a winner.

The Gov'nor.

May everyone have a merry Christmas ...

... and a very happy new year.

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