Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bill Callahan (aka Smog) live at the Rooftop Cinema





Was very, very blessed tonight to be one of only about two hundred or so punters who witnessed Bill Callahan (AKA Smog) performing live on the Rooftop Cinema at Curtin House.
This was his only Melbourne performance, and from what I hear he really had to be coaxed into this one as he isn't really out here on tour, rather he is accompanying his extraordinary partner, the wonderful Joanna Newsom.
The Rooftop Cinema is such a beautiful setting for Bill's dark acoustic wanderings. Bill spent the entire gig seated, with the twinkling city lights providing the backdrop. (As you can kind of see from my crappy mobile phone pictures.)
He started off with one of my all time favourite Smog songs, Hit the Ground Running from 1999's Knock Knock album.
Other highlights included The Well and Rock Bottom Riser from his last album A River Ain't Too Much to Love.
At times the sound of the exhaust fans was a little annoying but Bill wryly joked that it reminded him of the tape hiss on his first album.
Joanna Newsom spent most of the gig sitting on the fake grass directly in front of him.
For me the absolute highlight of the evening was the end.
After performing Dress Sexy At My Funeral as a kind of encore without leaving the stage, Bill abruptly stood up and walked off.
But here's the funny part...
Because the Rooftop Cinema is on a... well, rooftop, there is no real backstage area, so to leave the roof Bill had to walk down the middle of the aisle, with Joanna following closely behind, to the rapturous applause of the audience. And some members pleading 'please don't go Bill!'
It was quite a sight to watch the two darlings of the neo-folk scene, indie royalty, walking down the aisle together.
Joanna slightly wobbly in high heels on the spongy fake grass!
Looking to all the world as if they'd just got hitched.
Lovely.

ps. I know the pics are really shitty, but my mobile was the only camera i had on me, okay!

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