LIVE REVIEW: FRASER A GORMAN, Grace Emily, 18th August 2018

What do you do when you hit the road with one of the best albums in the country under your belt? Play it in full, of course!

Fraser A. Gorman kicked off his national tour in Adelaide at the Grace Emily last night, treating the appreciative audience to a full rendition of Easy Dazy, his superb new record.

Warming into the set with a solo number (in Dylan style with guitar and harmonica), Gorman then invited his band to the stage and launched into track one of the LP, ‘My Own Sunshine’ and then proceeded in order through to its closer, ‘St Joe’s Street’.

Gorman has a lot going for him. Firstly, there are the excellent songwriting skills, crafting a fine set of tunes with pleasing dynamics and a sharp lyrical sense, and showing how the new LP paints on a larger canvas, evolving from the simpler sound of his debut. He also has a knack for making new material feel familiar and comfortable. This might be due, in part, to the clear influences of Paul Kelly, the Go-Betweens and Dylan in his songs, but it is all packaged up in a way that’s very much his own.

Easy Dazy album coverLast night, Gorman also demonstrated how these songs pass the gig test, sparkling in a live setting.¬†Credit here should be given to his first rate band, comprising the multi-talented Anika¬†Ostendorf on guitar and organ, Jarrod Brown’s melodic bass-lines and the first rate drumming of Adelaide’s Holly Thomas. A tight unit with palpable on-stage chemistry, the quartet made the songs breathe.

Perhaps it was due to it being the first night of tour, but there were quite a few smiles being exchanged on stage; the outfit appears to genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

Standing in the audience, you can’t help but enjoy yourself. Along with the fantastic songs, Gorman has such an engaging stage presence, well suited to the intimate nature of the Grace Emily: a persona that’s genuinely relaxed, charming and affable. In between songs, he chatted easily with the audience, even inviting questions from the floor and offering wry answers.

There were many highlights, but standouts from the set included ‘Walking to Oman’s’, ‘The World’s Sure Looks Dark’ and the vocal solo from Ostendorf on the cruise lounge schtick of ‘Silence Turns to Gold’.

Following the album run through, Gorman went back to solo mode with ‘Radio King’, a Jeff Tweedy (via Golden Smog) cover, before the band rejoined for the rollicking alt-country of ‘Broken Hands’ from his first record to finish.

With support from local sing-songwriters Sasha March and Ryan Martin John to kick the night off, it was hard to imagine a better way to spend a cold, winter’s evening than listening to this fine music with a dark ale in hand.

Check out our interview with Fraser A. Gorman here.

Reviewed by Matthew Trainor

Photos supplied