The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Aurora Spiegeltent, Sun Mar 1
A criminally small but highly enthusiastic number of people take the opportunity on Clipsal Sunday night to see one of Australia’s very best songwriters performing in solo mode in The Garden. Accompanied only by Blackeyed Susan compadre JP Shilo, who provides some edgy but tasteful guitar textures that help the songs to really shine, Snarski’s slight figure in trilby hat, horn-rimmed glasses and clutching a guitar initially reminds me a little of Elvis Costello, but when he starts to sing he quickly places his own stamp on the evening’s proceedings.
Rob is here to present his excellent new CD Wounded Bird, but also a collection of earlier songs including favourites from a previous outing There Is Nothing Here That Belongs To You, and a new song from a work in progress. Songs like The Lay Of The Land and Tender Like A Bruise would sit comfortably in Neil Finn’s catalogue, and Snarski recalls being praised by Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens for Henry Small. Other standout songs include It Starts With Snow and Black Crow In A Loquat Tree.
His patter between songs has both a touch of the melancholy (a tale about his grandmother’s death) and self-deprecating humour (being told unwittingly by a concert-goer that the main act was great but the support act – him! – was terrible!) He talks to the audience as if they are friends. He seems to recognise some of them.
His warm, nuanced voice, his experience and musicianship, the sheer quality of his songs, and his genial personality make him the complete package. Next time you see the name Rob Snarski on the bill – take a chance. You will be richly rewarded.