Stepping into the comfy confines of Black Bear Lodge, one is bombarded with a gaggle of 70's soft rock power ballads and cheesy 80's pop anthems blasting over the PA. Wash it down with vodka and orange and drape it in stone wash denim and I would indeed be back meeting myself as a naive young man of 18. It's a musical environment kinda befitting for tonight's headliner, the head Velociraptor himelf, Mr. Jeremy Neale.
With a doe eyed keyboardist and a baby faced Kirk Pengilly channeling saxophonist just a few of his musical support ensemble, I was expecting some heavy '80s vibes akin to Mr. Neale's most recent solo material, and indeed parts of the Velociraptor album. However any overtly yacht rock tendencies are none too evident in tonight's live setting, ensuring that the set goes down a bouncily souped up treat for the most part.
Things aren't helped initially by a somewhat muddy mix but this soon dissipates after the first few numbers, revealing the depth of Neale's songwriting chops and his effortless ability to write damn catchy pop rock ditties. He's one exuberantly charismatic, bright young thing, a natural bandleader and front man, a highlights reel of dramatic expressionism and marionette style head bobbing. Indeed a man for all in the room to swoon along with.
The crowd are in fine Friday night fettle and lap up the set with unrestrained gusto. Highlights include the snap, crackle and bounce of 'In Stranger Times', the anthemic 'Swing Left' and the Brit Pop tendencies of 'A Love Affair To Keep You There'.
And once it's all over, the lubricated throng are left to gorge themselves further still on those glossy AM radio anthems of yesteryear. Never have I seen as many 20 somethings lose their marbles to artists of the (ahem) calibre of Messrs Farnham and Braithwaite. Tonight, irony and reverence make memorable bedfellows on the dance floor…
By Anthony Gebhardt