Written by Jessie Smith on July 17, 2008

While their bass player is gallivanting around the United Kingdom chasing skirt, Sickboy’s singer/guitarist Mark Spence is passing the time till next month’s release of their new EP (Water Never Waits) by gracing the Hopetoun with his presence on the 27th of July as part of the Secluded Sundays line up hosted by the fine gentlemen at Secluded Records.

During his formative years, he was often likened to Dylan while going through a phase of playing acoustic gigs at coffee houses. Luckily, Spence was saved from the clutches of hemp clothing and the Redemption Song, by discovering “Anti Folk”.

Not a familiar scene in Australia (yet), Anti Folk was a New York City movement that made a semi-failed attempt to take back the acoustic guitar from the legions of cry-baby, patchouli smelling saps that had raped and pillaged a monumental music force for too long. Occasionally referred to as “acoustic punk” – it is not something you would want on while you were having a bath, unless you fancied splashing round a bit.

Early pioneers include Roger Manning, Billy Nova & Billy Syndrome, but more familiar names that have been tagged with the label include Beck, Regina Spektor and Billy Bragg. Essentially what Sickboy plays closely resembles over-driven, original folk songs, with hyper-verbal lyrics both acerbic and touching – and justifying those earlier Dylan comparisons.

The word on the street is that when the bands have played acoustic shows in the past, the nights have become a mix of stripped down music with Andy Kaufman-esque performance art.

I am counting sleeps already.

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