it will happen to everyone sometime in their lives but i was just sure it would never happen to me. but in 2018 i woke up one morning and looked in the mirror. what i saw was not too bad but then again it was not too good. initially it was hard to put a finger on where the problem lay but after a little preening it soon became obvious. i just wasn’t INDI enough!
i thought long and hard how i could change this dire situation. the sage advice of writer flann o’brien in his classic book the third policeman about nuclear theory came to mind. the theory goes it is possible to change you molecular structure by spending time with the molecules you wish to exchange with your own – for example spend long periods of time riding a horse if you wish to become half man-half horse or sleep with a bicycle if you want become half person-half bike. my friend JOY STICK during his formative years took the theory to another level when he took to his bed for extended periods and became 1/3 boy-2/3 blanket which according to the third policeman was illegal. anyone who looked like passing a 50:50 molecular exchange would be incarcerated in jail until their molecular ratios became more favourable. the solution was simple then, go get front and centre at some indi gigs. katie crutchfield aka WAXAHATCHEE and KEVIN MORBY both indi darlings in their own right were playing co-headlining solo shows at the FOUNDRY in Brisbane. this was right on the money. the FOUNDRY in Brisbane is an INDI bar holding about 350 so it presented a great opportunity to exchange INDI molecules dispersed from the co-headliners.
WAXAHATCHEE is up first. KATIE sidles through a side hole in the wall and onto the small stage with her guitar slung across her back. she moves towards a floriade of orange Queensland orchids concealing a microphone. she is the picture of fragile beauty but her songs exude such resolute strength it is impossible to resist her. with just her acoustic guitar and voice she replicates perfectly her material recorded with the full band. SILVER from 2017’s OUT IN THE STORM is an early highlight. a doomed relationship is realised when a kiss starts to feel unfamiliar “a part of me rots and my skin all turns silver”. but katie doesn’t take it lying down and uses a force of nature to gain the strength to walk out. sublimely katie moves to the organ and plays a old classic CHAPEL OF PINES which has been excavated from 2012 and released on 2018’s GREAT THUNDER EP. it’s an absolute classic now. RECITE REMORSE comes next on organ with depressed beauty and just the hint of Alabama snarl in her voice. back to guitar and SPARKS FLY and the Alabama snarl is in full flight with the most poppy of choruses. LA LOUSE ends the show full of the best “hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo”s ever. and WAXAHATCHEE is gone but her voice and presence entrap the audience like the gossamer of a torn spiders web.
KEVIN MORBY is up next. he strides to the floriade microphone like a man with a story to tell. its his first show ever in Australia with his debut LP HARLEM RIVER just turning five years. he has in fact three subsequent LPs worth of stories to tell. kev is a wandering raconteur in the vein of woody guthrie bob dylan or lou reed. his live footage at the pitchfork festival in Paris is an amazing performance with horns and the phenomenal MEG DUFFY on lead guitar. tonight’s performance as a solo artist loses nothing. it’s a spellbinding performance with just a singer and his electric guitar. it’s hard sometimes to quantify what sets kev apart from others in the singer songwriter genre. his diction is perfect and at times almost too perfect but it is counterbalanced with his superb nuance of rhythm. characterised by changes of pace and beat coming at just the right time to match the lyrics. none more so than PARADE one of the most beautiful songs ever written where the rhythm speed doubles mid song. at times his enunciation is like an old testament prophet speaking on behalf of the lord. his lyrics are world-weary but still contain a sense of wonderment like fellow Kansas city local dorothy gale from the wizard of oz. mid set kev asks the audience what he should do in Australia. after many drunkenly ululated suggestions he settles on wearing some shorts. “what sort of shorts should i wear?”
“tight footy shorts” comes the Queensland command. “ok then footy shorts it is” is KEV’s riposte not realising they mean NRL shorts . he then moves to the organ and plays another highlight in DESTROYER. really it is all soooo good but it ends toooo soon with BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS.
but there is an encore when KEV and KATIE return to the stage to sing a duet on the late great JASON MOLINA song THE DARK DON’T HIDE IT. this is 1+1=3 . an absolutely stunning version of a stunning song. then its 1+1 = love with KEV’S song DOWNTOWN LIGHTS. this is pure Johnny and June, Gram and Emmylou or Lee and Nancy.
just as the first vocals of dylan’s IT AIN’T ME BABE begin, i hear the murmur “the fuzz is here”. i know instantly i’ve closed the molecular line. i run for i know its the third policeman hot on my trail and i am now approaching pure INDI.