Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses: Review

Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses, The Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, October 25, 2014. 

There's a gaping hole in my life at the moment and it's the one live music used to fill. I must have been whinging about it a lot lately, as my good husband recently took it upon himself to book us a gig and a babysitter. Yes and Yes. Here's how it went. 

I have a very distinctive memory of Tex Perkins in his younger days.  It involves a scalding hot Big Day Out, some serious stage swagger, some woozy eyes (his not mine) accompanied by a dramatic chunder off the side of the stage, to which we all cheered. So rock! I remember thinking, how can someone be sexy and spewing at the same time?  Dunno, but he was.

Back then he swilled bourbon between songs, these days he sips from a thermos. Looks like tea, could be bourbon.  Either way, his performance at local gem The Caravan Music Club (a.k.a Oakleigh RSL) was as compelling as years passed, only chunder-free.  And whilst he has been a ubiquitous solo-man, front-man and Johnny Cash re-incarnate in recent times, I have been a lazy fan-from-afar and haven’t been to any gigs.  Until much needed date-night with hubby happened.

After inhaling a delicious chicken parma each at the RSL bistro, we wandered into the old hall which was filling quickly. There were a mix of punters; from mature-aged pointy-booted rockers to young(ish) types all looking for some live Tex goodness. Perkins warmed up the crowd with a couple of melancholy acoustic songs, easing us into the night.  The band of six were a bunch of seasoned musicians; keys, bass, lead, rhythm, drums and Perkins on vocals and various guitars. They were a well-oiled machine, swapping instruments and improvising at times, not always tight but always together if you know what I mean.  

Perkins’ voice is as deep and luscious as ever, the backing vocals (by bass guy Joel Silbersher and drummer Gus Agars) were smooth, none more evident in the lovely “Losing you.” The overall sound is a blend of bluegrass, alt country and bluesy-rock and the familiar song “She speaks a different language” showcased all of that with its deep beats and chugging percussion.  There were some great guitar and bass solos (Murray Paterson and Silbersher respectively), but I particularly enjoyed Charlie Owen on the keys and slide guitar, layering the occasionally dark mood with a lighter ambience.

Perkins himself commanded full attention, at nearly 50 he definitely still has IT.  Born in Darwin, he’s now a Melbourne man and an Australian icon. He is immensely respected by many for his ability to remain fresh and relevant in the local scene. I loved it that he didn’t need to flog any of the old songs he is more widely known for, like so many older musicians do.  The Caravan Music Club is a fantastic venue, it provides a great atmosphere and is a beacon in the live music desert that is the south eastern suburbs.   Overall, a great night out with the food, music and company boxes well and truly ticked.

Sorry for the sub-par iPhone snap

Sorry for the sub-par iPhone snap

Have you seen any live music lately?