When Kevin Mitchell first started his Bob Evans solo project back in 2003, he was perfectly fine taking the stage with just a Maton and a harmonica for company. It’s a testament then to the growth of this material that he now requires a five piece band now to faithfully bring the songs to life – to the point where it was a bit of squeeze on the comparatively small stage of the Grace Emily.
Kicking off his national tour in Adelaide, Mitchell was clearly enjoying himself, chatting easily with the audience between songs and throwing himself into the material. Quite at home in the venue, he joked early in night about playing it for the first time despite drinking there on many a visit to Adelaide: he was either too popular or not popular enough for this stage, but had at last found his equilibrium.
The set was a pleasing mix of old and new material, with songs from latest release, Car Boot Sale sitting comfortably next to tunes from the back-catalogue. There was a real energy to newer songs like the set opener ‘Old News’ and ‘Matterfact’, while the appreciative crowd sang along to every word of ‘Don’t You Think It’s Time’.
The Bob Evans band area strong outfit, who serve the material well. One of the real highlights of the night (and one of its great surprises) came at the end of ‘Pasha Bulker’, when the musicians were let loose in a Pink Floyd style jam: a slow, wailing guitar solo over some heavy organ sounds.
Mitchell also enjoyed a few solo moments on stage, with the delicate fingerpicking of ‘Race to the Bottom’ proving a thing of beauty (he noted it was the first time he’d played the song to a live audience – quiet the debut).
Being the first night of tour, there was the odd loose moment, but this was part of the fun. It all felt like Mitchell was one of your mates giving a performance in your lounge room. If only we could have mates as talented as this drop around all the time!
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor