With the unfortunate news that The Melbourne Folk Club will be holding its last show this coming May 14th, a club that supported our earnest Folk musicians around Australia, tonight we will be noted as a celebration at the Northcote Social Club. Nadia Reid (solo) graces us tonight with tenderness, story-telling and some truly proficient song-writing, perfectly supported by Oscar Lush and The Grand Magoozi, two well-regarded folk singers from Melbourne.
Adorned with a long dark overcoat, Oscar Lush, serenaded some mellow minds tonight with his own take on alt-folk song writing. Muddling through the darker sides of common human experiences, while an intrigued crowd sat on the floor looking up, as if to be in class, during story time. While drawing comparisons makes our lives easier and, yes, there are the obvious similarities that combine Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley and collection of more recent alt-folk talents, Oscar holds his own and delivers a set that is both captivating and immersive. “Nightmare Songs”, his latest single is a testament to an artist that is beyond his years, lyrically powerful and rhythmically heart-warming. On mentioning that his hand-made CDs were limited quantity, many scuffled to their feet and snapped them up.
Suzie Scurry aka The Grand Magoozi, wearing a suitably flowing graphic dress, makes a slight cough to clear her unforgettably soothing voice and takes us on a little journey through musical time and lyrical intrigue. Tonight The Grand Magoozi, is helped by electric guitar that weaves a certain feel into each song, harmonising with a voice perfectly reminiscent of June Carter. While sipping on her new found love for Bundi and Coke, we are led down a path of the simple things in life and reminded how a simple explanation of a song can sometimes take our understanding to a whole new level. Suzie Scurry is entertaining to watch, her style unique, her banter very funny. A highlight tonight was “The Elvis Hour”, a wonderfully penned song about her love for Magic 1278’s Elvis hour that is now no more. Clever and melodic, a reminder that we need to support our great folk artists in this country.
Where do we start with the lovely Nadia Reid? The New Zealand songwriter who draws upon a love for folk music, both new and old, to create music that is contemporary against timeless lyrics. Rather strangely, I first head of Nadia Reid while listening to BBC Radio 6 DJ Steve Lamacq (if you don’t know about Lamacq, a seriously good talent spotter who walks in the foot-steps of John Peel), he was a big fan and, after hearing the song streamed all the way from London, so was I.
After having the privilege to chat with Nadia Reid for our A Baa Baa Blaah segment we were very excited to hear her exceptional debut album live. Playing solo tonight, the songs are stripped back but her strong guitar playing fills in for the missing rhythmic instruments. With the lovingly respectful crowd now on their feet, Reid makes it clear she is a little nervous. A few songs in, all this is left behind, with some dry-witted banter in-between songs and a few quick stories of song meaning, I ponder once again, how such talent and timeless song writing ability can happen.
Reid’s entire set was flawless, the majority played from her superb debut Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs, songs like “Track of Time”, “Reaching Through”, “Some Are Lucky” and “Ruby” had the audience in complete attention, each song telling a captivating story. My only complaint was that my feet were hurting and I wish we could have all been sat by tables sipping a warm whisky.
Tonight, not only did the crowd experience a night of perfectly crafted song writing, many of us who were new to Nadia Reid’s live experience, learnt more about the person behind the songs. Reid can command attention with little effort and with such inoffensive qualities, her live experience takes on a whole new dimension. I happily place Nadia Reid alongside some equally talented modern folk singers like Martha Wainwright and Laura Marling, with her impending second album release (we learn this tonight) we here at TWL hope that Nadia Reid gains the recognition so well-deserved. On her return of her 6 week European tour we hope to see you back Reid, perhaps with your band. What a treat.