WILLIAMS - HAMER HALL - 1 APRIL 2009
Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings
Lucinda Williams, starting off her first tour of Australia after sixteen years, at Hamer Hall on April Fools Day, startled many of her fans with her rock 'n roll attitude. Though there were no real live bleeding fingers or broken guitar strings it was a sizzling acid rock concert rather than the country rock some of her fans expected. There was hardly a twang heard all night.
Much disagreement and diametrically opposed views centre round her accompanying band Buick 6 who performed a warm up set before Lucinda's main show. It was all instrumental and raw rock n roll which put several concert goers off-side, this reviewer for one.
Before Buick 6 though, local duo Luluc performed a quiet short set of low key folk songs. What a contrast to the rest of the show!
By the time
Lucinda took the stage, the audience was, I felt, torn in two, though
ready to forgive the star attraction.
The concert was not relentlessly heavy rock. Halfway through the evening Lucinda had a stripped down segment, promising to rock out later. During this interval she sang such classic numbers as Side of the Road, Jackson and Over Time.
Lucinda repeatedly remarked on the quality of the acoustics in Hamer Hall and I must admit the sound was good, though the band was almost as loud as a Steve Earle & The Dukes concert and occasionally drowned out Lucinda's vocals. They really rocked out on songs like Essence, Come On and Honey Bee which Lucinda reckoned was the best live version she and Buick 6 had ever done.
The main show ended with Righteously, but Lucinda and the band returned for an extended encore, playing five songs, all covers - Disgusted (Lil Son Jackson, I Lived My Life (Fats Domino) Guitar Slim's Things I Used To Do and Every Picture Tells A Story (Rod Stewart/ Faces)
Not so successful was the cover of Long Way To The Top - the iconic ACDC song whose own version is burned into psyche of all Australians, so no matter how Lucinda and band performed the song it would never match the original.
As a concert, it certainly did not impress me as much as Leonard Cohen or Ryan Adams, say. I'd take the Cardinals over Buick 6 any day. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I must admit to a feeling of disappointment with the evening though there are others who would disagree.
I have no complaints with Lucinda Williams' performance - her distinctive soulful voice was spot on and it was good to see her having such a great time rocking out with her band, but there was some missing ingredient, and that vital something failed to make it a great concert.
Review by Anne Sydenham, photos by John Karpik