Josh Pyke – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, 17/08/2013

Josh Pyke’s second show of his new album tour, and the first of three sold-out gigs, was nothing short of rock-solid. His latest mesmerising offering, long-awaited fourth LP The Beginning and the End of Everything, was soaked in, lyric by lyric, by appreciative and adoring fans at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne on Saturday.

Opening for Josh Pyke were emerging Melbourne artist Olympia, who treated the crowd to her wonderfully hypnotic tones, and singer-songwriter Patrick James, who has been supporting Emma Louise on her recent gigs. Patrick James and his band in particular gave a headline-worthy performance, with their perfect melodies and warm, soothing vocals.

It’s not often that punters at The Corner need to compete for room to see the stage, but last night was one of them; the venue was full to capacity on selling out, and it would be fair to say a couple of death stares were exchanged between some overly excited punters looking for a nook to stand in as gthe anticipation grew and the crowd grew more impatient.

When Josh Pyke and his band finally did appear they launched straight into delivering a solid, melodic and beautiful performance. He promised the crowd he’d be mixing up the old and the new to keep everyone happy, and didn’t disappoint with his plus-23-song setlist.

The singer-songwriter performed Memories and Dust, from his 2007 album of the same name, before launching straight into Forever Song from the same release. Josh has an amazing knack for story-telling, and each and every song seems to be constructed precisely and thoughtfully. Josh sings in Beginning and the End of Everything, “Too many pebbles in my shoes / they make it hard to walk a straight line / tightrope, balancing the point of me against the point of you”: he has this wonderful way of giving listeners relatable analogies to explain his feelings or thoughts. Not all artists can do this as easily and clearly through their lyrics.

Josh played a few more songs from his new album including Feet of Clay and White Lines Dancing, which he revealed was his favorite from the album, and when the band launched into The Summer, the crowd whooped in excitement and sang along to the wonderfully catchy tune from beginning to end. Jumping back to Memories and Dust, Josh delivered the sweet and romantic Sew My Name. While long-time fans in the crowd were excited to see him play his newest songs live for the first time, it was obvious that they were lapping up his much-loved back catalogue with enthusiasm, singing and dancing along to Josh’s obvious delight.

Josh announced that they would be playing their last song to vocal disappoint from the crowd, choosing to close with the super catchy and upbeat latest single Leeward Side, though he quickly put their fears to rest: “Last song before the encore…this is theatre!”, he exclaimed. And what an encore it was, almost another half-dozen treats were played, including Middle of the Hill and Warm in Winter, which he revealed would be the next single from his new album.

After his band left the stage Josh stayed behind to close the night with the beautifully haunting acoustic Bug Eyed Beauty, the opening track of The Beginning and the End of Everything. He recorded a few harmonies before beginning, and looped them to create a delicate layering of his vocals, accompanied only by his guitar. A perfect end to a wonderful night of superb live music from Josh Pyke and band.

PHOTOS: Josh Pyke – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne 17/08/2013

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