Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Wed 14 Nov.
Almost without anyone noticing, Wreckless Eric has made his way onto the Gov’s Front Bar stage and is quietly sound-checking. He greets the crowd with a good-natured tale about being surrounded by frightening Les Patterson-esque men on his last visit to Australia. “And look at me now, I’m in the Lounge Bar,” he quips to laughter and applause. Without too much fuss he kicks off his set with Same, from 2004’s Bungalow Hi, which is very well received by the crowd. “Thank you very much; I don’t know where we go from here,” says Eric. “This is the weirdest place I’ve played in for about… a week,” he jokes. The venue does, perhaps, have an overly intimate feel; partially due to the fact that the floor space has been filled with tables. If you want to stand you need to head to the back. Eric seems relaxed and in good humour, and Reconnez Cherie is introduced as “one for the old folks, because you probably all want to go home early,” which is again met with laughter.
The first half of the set features Eric playing his acoustic guitar, joshing about Trump and Brexit, falling out of love with the music industry, David Bowie’s trousers, all the while treating the audience to great versions of songs like Joe Meek and Hit And Miss Judy. Sometimes it seems that Eric can’t quite believe the setting that he has found himself in.
He announces that he’s going to play a medley of his new album, Construction Time And Demolition, and does something that approximates that. Beginning with Gateway To Europe, and followed by the wonderfully meandering The World Revolved Around Me, the next section of the show is just song after song, with no introductions, just the tunes. At times, it is expertly ramshackle. “How the fucking hell did I get here?” he sings in Flash. There’s some great effect pedal improvisation in Forget Who You Are. “I hope this is going alright?” he asks, and the answer is made clear via unanimous applause. Eric switches to his Telecaster and things, as promised, get louder with Days Of My Life and Sysco Trucks.
Whole Wide World is met with predictable whoops, then it’s right back to the present with The Two Of Us, complete with big rock ‘n’ roll ending. Without leaving the stage, Eric performs his encore; the evening wraps up very nicely with a great version of Semaphore Signals.
It’s not often that the front bar hosts a performer with the wit, chops, sublime trashiness and gravitas of Eric Goulden. It’s not all about yesterday. Those present this evening ought to be thankful that, after 38 years, we’ve had a chance to witness a contemporary Wreckless Eric show. It’s been a great night out.
by David Robinson
Image courtesy of David Robinson