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Review: Bernard Fanning

There are very few people born in Australia before the end of the 20th century, or indeed well into the 21st century, who will not recognise the quintessential Australian rock band Powderfinger. Indeed, many will recognise the voice of this iconic band as it intermittently entered the airwaves and our collective consciousness over the past few decades. Having branched out to a solo career over 10 years ago, Bernard Fanning has solidified himself in the Australian music scene and, after his recent gig in Darwin on Saturday, it isn’t hard to see why he remains one of the country’s most respected musicians.

Darwin’s Entertainment Centre played host to an array of Australia’s most talented and up-and-coming musicians over the course of the weekend, with Fanning's support acts alone bringing in some serious musical mettle from interstate. 

Ainslie Wills was first up. Her small set up, accompanied by her long time collaborator Lawrence Folvig, was nothing in comparison to the immense presence of her voice. After the celebrated release of You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine over two years ago, Wills released Oh The Gold late last year. Playing tracks from this new EP, it was obvious to see this Melbourne-based musician has further strengthened her melodic and reflective song-writing style. 

NSW folk rock musician Dustin Tebbutt followed with his Bon Iver-esque vocals and infectious yet melancholic indie pop. Tebbutt has also recently released a new album First Light this year, winning critical acclaim and receiving airplay across the country. 

The night managed to span a large majority of Fanning’s expansive career, with highlights from his new album Civil Dusk as well as a number of classic hits for good measure – including a piano-led version of Powderfinger’s popular 'These Days' and an acoustic performance of 'Wish You Well', which was enthusiastically received by the crowd. 

Offering a mix of traditional tracks and surprising detours – including a nod to Prince’s 'Purple Rain' – Fanning took time to relate his thoughts and experiences to the audience. Obviously comfortable performing in front of large crowds, Fanning addressed the audience with a relaxed and self-effacing humour.

The only thing I would bring into question was the choice of venue, as there were a number of people who forsook the comfort of their seats to dance up the front in the tiny spaces around the front of the Entertainment Centre stage. If there was a little more room to move, I’m sure more people would have been on their feet.  

Chelsea Heaney | Acting Music Editor | Off The Leash | Sat 5 Nov 2016 | Darwin Entertainment Centre


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