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Dan Kelly

With Eagle & the Worm




After disappearing for quite some time, Melbourne singer songwriter, Dan Kelly re-emerged from the writing desk not too long ago to begin revealing material for his third release (scheduled to hit shelves sometime this year). The break proved to be a proactive one, with Kelly returning with more wit and whimsical charm than he had to begin with. And with that, it seemed about time for a national tour.

  

Gaining themselves the support slot for the tour, as well as building the status of their brand new name over Melbourne town, Eagle & the Worm delivered a set that was appropriately joyful. With only half their usual manpower in tow, the night's quintet still seemed in super high spirits, and brought the sound and energy to match.

  

Lacking the usual horn section that band would have, instrumentation rotated quickly, with various horns and percussions making the rounds. Up front on vocals, Jarrad Brown proved to have the knack for fronting a project like this, delivering awkwardly funny banter and solid vocals (distinct ones at that – what a cool voice).

  

All the while, Joe Cope and Jim Lawrie provided the sweeter harmonies up back – the band as a unit proving quite solid, too. Singles from the E&TW double A-Side – ‘Futureman' and ‘Good Times' – were stand outs of the set, leaving a genuinely cheerful impression on the crowd.

  

The cheer left over from Eagle & the Worm seemingly remained on stage, with inflatable sharks and technicoloured lights preparing the space for Dan Kelly and his Dream Band. For the band, this was a fancy hat party – with a pair of sailors hats and a pith helmet appearing – whilst for Kelly, no hat could tame his hair, and a Mariah Carey t-shirt had to do.

  

The set was certainly dominated by new material, with the early playing of ‘The Decommissioner' hinting a return to Kelly's older, rockier stylings. This wasn't the case though, and by the set's end it was clear the new album sees plenty of angles in Kelly's songwriting – everything from the country sounding tale of a nun and janitor eloping (‘Read All About It In The Catholic Leader'), his "gay Paul Kelly song" about falling in love with two girls and going to Spain in a dust storm (‘Stretching Out') and the acid folk journey of the new album's title track (‘Dan Kelly's Dream').

  

Then there was the single being launched, ‘Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam', a track which sees Kelly under the sea with Bindi and Terri Irwin, Ringo Starr and Jimi Hendrix, all having a jam whilst the apocalypse rages above them. If you're wondering if Dan Kelly might be on something when he writes this stuff, so are most people. All in great humour though, the crowd happily laughed and joined the "ooh-ees" of the track's chorus.

  

Amidst the slew of new songs, some old favourites appeared, including ‘Summer Wino' and ‘Checkout Cutie' off Kelly's debut. Happily dedicating the song to Tony Abbott, ‘Drunk on Election Night' also appeared and got its usual crowd participation happening (check out the song's chorus if you don't quite get the dedication or crowd's enthusiasm).

  

In between tracks, Kelly provided plenty of stories, ensuring the crowd knew what he was writing about, and even handing out advice: if you ever want to pull a dodgy insurance claim on a car, leave a bag of used needles inside so it looks like the work of a junkie. Cue ‘Fire and Theft'. There was also admission of poor research, with Kelly realising the uselessness of lyric "tear your dressing gown" when they open at the front anyway.

  

The set ended with ‘Dan Kelly's Dream' – one of those stories where so much happens, only to be resolved by the protagonist waking up. It sounds cheesy, but with lyrics like these you can't go wrong: "I fell asleep on a tram, Harry Potter in hand / I woke up drooling in the south of Vietnam / With a controversial haircut and oversized hands / In the back of a cafe called ‘Mystery Tran'."

  

By the time Kelly and band had finished, they'd shared plenty of stories, songs and laughs with a crowd that's bound to come back for more. And we're certainly looking forward to Dan Kelly's Dream, which he knows sounds pretentious, but as he says, "that's the fun thing about being pretentious".

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