Gig Reviews

Andy Bull – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 20/10/13

Sydney-based singer songwriter Andy Bull delivered a stellar afternoon of entertainment with yet another sold-out show at Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club on Sunday. As the second last show on his Baby I Am Nobody Now tour, the matinee performance was perfectly suited to Melbourne’s vital “Sunday session” culture.

Touring for the first time with Deep Sea Arcade drummer Carlos Adura and long-term guitarist Alex Bennison, Bull also added an extra keyboard to his live set, showcasing his instrumental talent throughout the show.

The atmosphere was chilled inside the intimate venue, patrons taking seat on the carpeted floor of the band-room eagerly awaiting an afternoon of live music. Bull immediately got our attention, opening with synth-soaked slow number One Expression and wowing the crowd with his high-soaring vocal range.

Discussing his vocals with the audience later in the show, Bull quipped, “If anyone writes the androgynous-voiced Andy Bull, well done – you’re a fucking art student. You don’t win any prizes writing that shit.” He also argued that despite having a high voice for a man, it is compensated by his very large penis.

Continuing with 2010 EP title track Phantom Pains, Bull delivered a perfectly balanced combination of old and new music, with new tracks Slipping Away and Echo of a Man giving fans a taste of his forthcoming album and continuing his unrelenting on-stage energy.

Playfully referring to his 2010 Hottest 100 inclusion for his Lisa Mitchell collaboration track Dog as “no big deal”, Bull gave a detailed insight into the team-up process before Bennison did his best in establishing a delicate vocal to support Bull’s exquisite falsetto.

Taking the tempo right down, Bull executed an outstanding solo performance on Last Waltz, “the story about failing to take accountability and therefore become an adult”. When the music played, the raw emotion in his voice took centre stage and ultimately made the crowd weak at the knees.

He followed straight on with a story about moving away from a girl who broke his heart, only to have her move into the same street three weeks later, the band were welcomed back on stage and performed My Street.

Crowd favourites and recent singles Baby I Am Nobody Now and Keep On Running had the crowd dancing and the room buzzing and followed up with Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World, a personal favourite and vocal stand-out which he also covered for the Triple J Like A Version segment in 2011.

Andy was relaxed on stage and seemed to relish the opportunity to connect with the crowd in a very intimate setting, making the gig feel more like an evening in his lounge-room. Though there’s heartache and darkness in his music, it’s a stark contrast to the confident character on stage, and his smile of appreciation at the applause was genuine. Often taking a moment between songs to tell a story or ask for a change in lighting or sound, he was funny, witty and most importantly honest.

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