Last night I had a lovely evening watching Holly Throsby in concert at the Clarendon in Katoomba. Living in the Blue Mountains and working in Sydney is not exactly easy, but I was glad I was able to see this Sunday night concert and then be home at a reasonable hour.
The venue at the Clarendon was lovely and small. It's basically a normal restaurant room with a stage on one end. If you buy a ticket there with a meal, you're sitting at a table right by the stage. Just a metre or two away from the main microphone. But it's a lot cheaper to just see the concert, and if you book early, you can get a good seat (in such a small venue, they're all good). My group was just behind the tables.
The support act was Stephanie Dosen, originally from Wisconsin. She was great. Very chatty and funny. There was quite a contrast with her banter between songs and the actual songs, many of which were pensive and delicately beautiful. Afterwards there was quite a queue of people buying Stephanie's CD, which she was selling and autographing.
I have seen Holly Throsby in concert only once before, when she appeared as a special guest at a Sarah Blasko concert in the Seymour Theatre in April. She and Sarah sang three songs together, including an amazing cover of Eleanor Rigby. Last night, Holly was accompanied by Jens Birchall on cello, backing vocals and possibly mandolin, as well as Bree van Reyk, on drums, accordion, backing vocals, glockenspiel, bells, casio - quite the multi-tasker she was.
Holly played a few brand new songs from the album she's going to be recording in Nashville in around two months. I really liked them. The rest were a fairly representative spread from Holly's two LPs and most recent EP. She also played a cover of a Bob Dylan song, which was the only thing which didn't do much for me - probably because I'm not really into Bob Dylan.
There were a few moments which seemed a little unpolished, but I don't think anybody minded. I don't think anybody seeing Holly Throsby on a Sunday night in Katoomba expects to see something sickly slick and polished. Last night's performance was authentic and intense, with an undercurrent of poignancy. Holly spoke a little about what prompted her to write the song Under the Town and a Widow's Song, one of the new songs she played.
After the encore, Holly and Bree and Jens sold autographed CDs and these amazing little hand-drawn comic books which Holly has made as companion pieces for Under the Town and One of You for Me.