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Gig Review: Georgia Fair @ The Toff, 13th July

Last night Georgia Fair played yet another pretty much faultless set in Melbourne, this time at a slightly larger venue, The Toff. It is indicative of the quality of their music that the venue was sold out, and with their debut full-length album on the way, this is a band that looks set to make it really really big. And if this show was any indication, they deserve to.

I arrived in time to catch a bit of the first opening act, Brisbane’s Carry Nation. She played nice folk music featuring just her voice and an acoustic guitar, and had a really charming stage presence that won over the rather sizable crowd. Like she observed, it seems that Georgia Fair crowds have a habit of being pretty punctual. The highlight of her set was probably when she was joined on stage by Lisa Mitchell for some rather gorgeous harmonising, and all in all she did a great job of warming up the crowd, which is never an easy task for a folk musician.

Next up was Daniel Lee Kendall, who also played with Georgia Fair for their previous tour. At The Toff this night he overcame initial sound problems and a very talkative crowd to play another great set of lovely folk tunes, spearheaded by numbers from his latest EP, ‘Talk The Night Away’. Hold Me Now in particular was wonderful, as was My Love To Be. DLK’s songwriting tendencies of upbeat melodies matched with sometimes quite dark lyrics are perfectly suited to live shows, and he does his studio material justice with a crowd in front of him.

He has an endearingly awkward stage presence, and gradually won over everyone in the crowd, even those who initially seemed much more interested in talking and drinking than listening to his music. His final song, Lost In The Moment, received a large cheer from the crowd, and finished his set on a real high. It was a perfect opening set for a Georgia Fair gig, full of powerful folk songs, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. Plus, his dancing is awesome.

It was at last time for Georgia Fair to take the stage, and after a short break they did just that. I’ve seen them quite a few times in the past, sometimes with a full band and sometimes with just Ben and Jordan. This time, however, they took to the stage with just the one extra band member, a drummer (I’ve totally forgotten his name). I thought the setup suited the guys perfectly- it was a great compromise between the full band shows and the acoustic sets with just the two of them. The added percussion gave the music of Georgia Fair just a little bit of extra punch that it really needed to fill a bigger venue like The Toff.

They also messed around with their setlist a bit, opening with the old favourite Simple Man before breaking into the title track of their latest EP, Times Fly. Much to my delight the guys opted to play Something Easy, a track which I requested at their previous Melbourne show and which they told me they were planning on playing live more often. It’s my favourite Georgia Fair song, and live it is just sublime, even if I’m a bit unsure about the electric guitar version that the guys opted for this time round.

Lisa Mitchell and Carry Nation joined Georgia Fair on stage for a rendition of Marianne, but to be honest the whole veiled dancer thing seemed a bit cliched and fell slightly flat, although the harmonising was of course fantastic. Plus any chance to see Lisa Mitchell sing can only be a good thing. There can be little doubt as to what most of the crowd were waiting for, and that was Picture Frames. It was a wonderful moment when Georgia Fair started to play it, as the energy in the crowd lifted and everyone started singing along and dancing. It was one of those beautiful Toff moments where the venue just seems radiant.

The guys closed with a new song (Gloria?) which was a great tune, but could never compete with the song that came before it for highlight of the night. And that was it for the gig. Yet again Georgia Fair showed that they offer virtually unparalleled value for money when it comes to gigs- not only did we get a faultless set from the guys themselves, but we also witnessed two high-quality support acts and (not so) surprise appearances from none other than Lisa Mitchell. All for $10.

The Toff was as always the perfect venue for a gig like this, and even though pockets of the crowd weren’t really interested in listening to the music for some reason, most people there were intent on enjoying the night while also respecting the artists on stage and the other punters surrounding them. Georgia Fair’s debut album is going to be massive, but I certainly hope it doesn’t mean they stop playing intimate shows like this anytime soon.

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2 Responses to “Gig Review: Georgia Fair @ The Toff, 13th July”

  1. i THINK the drummer’s name was rob

    but i agree with this review wholeheartedly, it was absolutely amazing to be there

  2. Drummer’s name was rob :) great review ;)

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