A Secret in the Shape of a Song

The Triffids and Friends play the songs of David McComb

Metro Theater, Sydney, Sunday 20th January

This was a wonderful show: an Australian reunion concert and tribute to the Triffid’s lead singer and songwriter Dave McComb, who died in 1999. The vocalists were Steve Kilbey, Mick Harvey, Rob and Mark Snarsky, Melanie Oxley and Toby Martin of Youth Group; all were excellent, although Steve seemed to have blown out his vocal cords on the preceding three nights.

The Sydney Festival website page had a touch of the couldabeens about it – “unfortunately the shot fell agonisingly short of its target but the echoes remain” – not an uncommon note in discussions of Australian music of the 80s, but I for one have had enough of such wistful talk. What Dave McComb and the Triffids actually achieved was brilliant.

I was lucky enough to have seen them on their last Australian tour in what I could have sworn was 1990 but seems to have been 1989. This was a better venue and we could actually sit down on chairs. The chairs also meant that we could give three standing ovations at the end. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a show where there was such a good vibe from the audience. Mention should also be made of “Handsome” Steve Miller’s nice turn as Master of Ceremonies.

They played, among other things, a ferocious “Field of Glass”, and – oh, thank heavens – “Raining Pleasure”.

My passion for music seems to have completely returned. (Music, I’m sorry I was distant. Will you forgive me?)


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