Chris Altmann & Joe Pug, Red Rattler (Sydney, Australia)
Tremendous night, that was. The Red Rattler which in addition to having admirable social and artistic aims is a cute little space in the inner west rust belt. The bar service was super friendly and the drinks reasonably priced (one schooner and two reds for $12.50). I had something from the tap they were calling Rat’s Piss and it was tasty. The attendance only numbered about 30 which is a disgrace Sydney although there was a show at the Raval the night before which might have split the ticket. But still. Those that were there were into it though and the performers were gracious and didn’t pull back.
Chris’s album Que Paso (also the name of his band) has got a lot of play round my place since I checked it out a month or so ago when I saw he was opening for Joe Pug. The name in Spanish means “what happened” which is a reference to (I gather) this country rekkid being a departure from his usual rock sound so it may be a oncer but I really hope not, he has the voice and lyrics to really do a lot of interesting things in the genre. The band on Que Paso provides a very full sounds including banjos, fiddlers steel guitar etc so I wasn’t sure how it would translate to solo acoustic but it did, excellently. Apart from the lyrics, the songs have such strong melodies inside them you can strip out all the instruments and still have a cohesive thing. So, that was great.
Here’s Hume Highway Blues, and I’ve also got a vid of Love Like This.
Joe Pug apart from being one of the best songwriters going around has done some innovative and cool things to engage with fans and not-yet-fans in the modern era, from giving away as many sampler CDs as you ask for to give to your friends and doing a tour of North America this year where tickets were $10 with no extra fees, of the handling kind you usually get slugged, Joe seems like a exceptional stand up guy and while that’s not necessary to want to back his music, it doesn’t hurt.
So at the gig he ran through a lot of the songs from his LP Messenger, including lots of my faves. Here’s “I Do My Father’s Drugs”. I requested and got my favourite song of his “Bury Me Far (From My Uniform)” in the encore- thanks Joe!
In addition to this, Chris Altmann also came back out and they did three country classics : “Hickory Wind”, “Close Up the Honky Tonks” and “Lost Highway” The first and the third are below. How excitement! Burgo who reviewed Brisbane didn’t mention this collaboration so I assume it’s a new addition, on a back stage discovery they both grew up listening to the same old country stuff.
So that’s that – great night! I’m sure he’ll come back so then, Australia, you will have no excuse not to get out in droves. I also hope Chris Altmann comes back to Sydney soon with the full band and I’ll definitely be harrassing y’all to get along to both when it happens.