Live Review: Dave Mann Collective @ Freo Metropolis

Dave Mann Collective, Tourist, Howie Morgan Project
Metropolis Fremantle
Friday 4th August 2006
Review by Paul Speering

On Friday night, I decided to check out Fremantle Metro’s for a night of original music.

The first thing worth mentioning is the pure size of the stage; it must be a band’s dream to play on a stage that big! It made for some great stage antics, with guitarists and bass players jumping up on the drum riser to keep the stick bearer company all the way up there.

Howie Morgan and his Project were a great way to start the night. A cool, laid back mix of cruisy blues and roots, tied together nicely with a smattering of up-tempo tunes that kept the smallish but very interested crowd bopping away. There was one dancer especially who really, really got into them. Anyone who was there will know what I’m talking about. Technically, all three musicians were very solid. Howie has such a great voice, and had a great connection with his audience. One possible way to describe them is to imagine a nice warm lazy Sunday arvo in January, with the sun setting over the ocean… you get the picture!

Tourist, having not heard them before, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I wasn’t sure how they’d fit in with the two other blues and roots acts. They had more of an upbeat pop rock sound, but with elements of both blues and roots in their tunes. They certainly had the crowd up and dancing, which is almost always a good thing. By the time they hit the stage, the place had filled out nicely, with the dance floor population steadily increasing during their set, and passing that energy over to the band. Once again, it was hard to fault the musicianship, and the lead guitarist had the ability to launch into some great solos.. However, their sound was fairly commercial, and it wasn’t really anything that hasn’t been heard before. They also went significantly over time, and that cut short The Dave Mann Collective’s set. Not very professional.

What more can I say about The Dave Mann Collective that hasn’t already been said? They were simply superb, as per usual. However, due to the height of the stage, there wasn’t the same connection with the crowd as I have seen at other venues. But that was only one small negative. The introduction of a new member on keyboards to the ‘Collective’ was a surprise to me. Although he was highly competent on the instrument, and added depth to the sound, I can’t say for sure whether it’s a good thing or bad thing at this stage. Seriously, if you haven’t yet seen DMC in action, do yourself a favour. You will not regret it.

On a sour note, due to the previous band going overtime, and the need to get the shit cover band on, DMC’s set was cut short. Poor stage management was the culprit here. Overall, the music was great, with DMC and the Howie Morgan Project kicking arse.

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