I went along with Anna to see Stephen Cummings play at the Republic Bar last night. Neal Haslem and his mate Philip were there too, so we gathered together to enjoy the show. Anna and I paid $15 to get in, whereas Neal and Philip had just come along to have the Special Lambshanks and lurked around when they heard SC was on the bill.
He was very good, very enjoyable. His offsider, who wasn't ever introduced but seems to be called Billy, is a Keith Richards style skull-with-hair, shimmery purple silk shirt and a very wide range of axeman facial expressions. He has left it too late in life to ditch his Guitarist hairdo I fear. Stephen was looking pretty well, silver hair erect, big mouth full of pointy teeth. The show was all acoustic, and came across kind of country-rockish although there are good pop hooks aplenty in there. He is a good lyricist, and he gave the songs plenty of time to unfold last night.
The last time I saw him live was at the laundromat in Elwood where we both lived, in about 1991. He was just doing some washing. I imagine him writing a song about it.. "Doin' some washing at the laundromat / nondescript guy walks in / he got brown hair / and glasses too / and I lost a black sock again"
Stephen talks and sings with a kind of mid-Pacific accent, which is a very Countdown-era Oz Rock thing to do. James Reyne and Richard Clapton spring to mind. Love is "lav" and thing is "thang" and baby is "bear beh". Stephen told a story that went on and on about living in Alaska in an igloo, with a baby polar bear, who went missing. Then he found him, and was dragging him back to the igloo, and the bear didnt want to go. Just when I thought it was going to end as a really dumb joke he said "as we got over the hill, I saw there on the verandah of the igloo waiting was my little polar bear. I had got the wrong one. I had made another mistake, in my life". And that was it - I loved it.
The crowd were pretty agéd, probably on average about 45. I was thinking about this, and how far from the supercool edge of contemporary sounds I am, when I noticed the guy leading the handclaps along to Who Listens To The Radio? was ABC newsreader Peter Gee.