1. Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings: Perth Concert Hall
Words and sounds that seem to come from a long time ago and a long way away – but it’s fresh and vital and funny and heartbreaking. A perfect concert.
2. Brian Wilson: Riverside Theatre, Perth
Front row seats for this were so close we couldn’t see Wilson’s head above the grand piano. A joyous concert full of those wonderful Beach Boys songs and Matt Jardine making sure the high notes are still hit.
3. Dave Rawlings Machine: Playhouse Canberra Theatre Centre
Welch takes a half-step back when the Machine takes over. Brilliant playing and lots of fun in an intimate venue just right for this kind of thing.
4. Punch Brothers: Riverside Theatre, Perth
These blokes are virtuoso players and they had a lot of fun at this concert. Stunning.
5. Peter Busher & The Lone Rangers: Strange Company, Fremantle
On the very last day of the year. This little bar suited the Rangers. Highlights included the classics Hurting Game and Father’s Footsteps, the soothing All I Need that seems to suit summer afternoons and a version of TJW’s Polk Salad Annie that might have caused stirrings at the nearby Fremantle Fire Station. More please.
6. Black Sabbath: Perth Arena
The final tour. The concert kicked off brilliantly with the ominous Black Sabbath and didn’t let up. Ozzy seemed in danger of losing his voice early on but it returned with gusto – a miracle. A reminder of the genius of Tony Iommi while Geezer Butler was in hot form too.
7. The Monkees: Perth Concert Hall
Yes I would’ve loved for Mike Neesmith to have been there but this was still lots of fun. Truly great songs and fine use of all those hours of footage from the TV show. A bonus was the clever on-screen involvement of the late Davy Jones in a couple of songs.
8. Bill Chambers & Lucky Oceans: Gaslight Fly by Night, Fremantle
Chambers played songs from his stellar new album Cold Trail plus songs from Hank, Johnny, Mary Gauthier, Gram and others in this tiny basement venue. The addition of the pedal steel was a welcome bonus and Mr Gosfield was at his best.
9. Ezza: cnr Market & High Streets, Fremantle
This was part of the Fremantle Street Arts Festival and I thank Alex Marshall for tip. Playing desert-rock with its fuzzy guitars and wild beats Ezza are from France via Niger and Algeria. Look for them on your streaming thing or good record shop.
10. Steve Earle and The Mastersons The Astor
More blues than country from Earle and I’ve spoken to people who loved it and others who hated it. We were up the back in the dress circle – great sound, plenty of room, excellent view. I suggest next time you go to something at the Astor that you get tickets down in the stalls – you’ll be so much closer to the action.