The splendour of the Maestro…
After a torturous, pandemic-induced wait, Jeff Martin had finally made his way back to the Brass Monkey for a couple of powerful and desperately needed shows. Music lovers, and the industry as a whole, have suffered so irreparably, that this night felt like the biggest burst of sunshine had just torn through our grey, ominous winter skyline. It’s so hard to believe that two and a half years have passed since Martin last performed at this venue but there he was, as vocally strong as always, looking exceptionally well and giving us his usual 200%. The Maestro never disappoints, and the packed Brass Monkey was in for another unforgettable night.
Before we enjoy this night of Martin delights, we have Jordan Kenny. Well, well… I wasn’t expecting this performance for the support act. Those of you who have ventured out for one of these shows know exactly what I am talking about here. Jordan, you are one fun and ballsy young lad and one of the most entertaining, unique support acts I’ve ever seen! Your music and attitude are refreshing. Quirky but serious, focused yet engaging with the crowd whenever possible. It felt like a mix of listening to music from an old school French flick mashed in with flashes of a 1960’s Warren Beatty movie.
Original tunes including ‘(I) Blew The Sun Away’ and ‘Sleep (Is Good)’ with a Doors cover of ‘Peace Frog’, you had us all wondering what was going to happen next, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing you again. It’s one of those sets that you need to enjoy more than once as the performance literally carries you away into another place and time. Like an offspring of Donovan, with some lashings of Angus Young, creative and fascinating… please, Jordan, don’t change, for anyone. Yours was a wonderful set to start off this evening.
The anticipation for Martin was building and, as I look around, you can sense the importance of the intimacy of these types of gigs. A warm and friendly venue, it feels like a home of music as we enjoy dinner and drinks (including a delicious entree and a tasty, succulent beef cheek main) and, of course, the top tier performances from some of the best artists on our planet. We have all missed these nights and, hopefully, it never goes back to where it all was. Then, of course, you have Martin, one of the rare few who can entertain at such a ridiculously high level, year after year. It really is extraordinary how his voice can continually boom with such clarity and depth. He truly is the musical gift that keeps on giving.
As Martin glides into his usual stage position, the crowd erupts. How calming it feels to have him back up there again, with the rest of us gathered around. The faithful haven’t forgotten what’s important and why we are all here. He belts out his first tune of the night, ‘The Kingdom’ and then it’s onto ‘Angeldust’. Martin begins to reminisce of times passed when living in Ireland and working on his first solo venture. Then on to some band talk and he notes that in just a week’s time, The Tea Party will be starting their first Canada tour in three and a half years. We all know what that means, and Martin obliges, with an Australian tour mentioned to be in the works for 2023. Yes please, we will take it all!
‘Stay Inside Me’ is up next and then it’s ‘Still Water’, so unbelievably clear and powerful. It’s almost as if Martin is a part of the walls, the ceiling and the floors. Every note permeating through and amplifying within every cubic centimetre of space. They are one and the same when he is in his element and it is unlike any performance you would hear and see elsewhere. To round up the first set, we have the always special ‘Daystar’ then some ‘Black Snake Blues’ with the Maestro on fire. A sigh of satisfaction is observed across the venue, thankful we still have a second set yet to come.
As he begins this second instalment for the evening with the apt ‘Coming Home’/LA Woman’ Martin mix, we well and truly have one of our favourite adopted sons ‘home’. ‘The Grand Bazaar’ turns it up a notch and then it’s onto an incredibly haunting and deep ‘Requiem/Hurt’. Martin was reflecting on life and, as he told us, the recent loss of friends. With tears in his eyes and some near pausing, he makes it through. Spine tingling, to say the least, followed by the cathartic ‘Hallelujah’.
It’s an emotionally charged set and we all take a breath until it’s time for some ‘Sister Awake/Winter Solstice/Save Me’. All the oldies, but very, very goodies, are a treat for The Tea Party fans. I love the ‘Zahira/Halcyon Days’ cojoined tracks with the always entertaining climax (no pun intended).
Martin leaves the stage with the crowd chanting ‘more’ while banging their tables and glasses. We are not let down as he returns with another commanding vocal, ‘Heaven Coming Down/With Or Without You’, hammering throughout the venue for our encore. With his vocals in such superior form, Martin is cranking it out like the musician and artist he is. It’s been such a special evening for all the music lovers here tonight.
Whistles, cheers and claps surround the Maestro as he walks off stage with another unequalled performance under his belt. The fans don’t leave but linger instead to enjoy the hospitality of the Brass Monkey whilst excitedly discussing this exceptional artist that we Australians are fortunate to know so well. It was an honour and a privilege to witness the splendour of the Maestro once again.
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2022 – All Rights Reserved
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