Review by Natasha Rachow
Photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson
Brad Cox Live at the Dalrymple Hotel Townsville Queensland – 2 July 2023
I had an opportunistic chance to see Brad Cox’s show in Townsville on Sunday night. The venue, the Dalrymple Hotel, a pub in the centre of Townsville on a steamy night, was packed, yet another sellout on this national tour. Nearly 600 “Coxheads” packed the venue tonight to see what has quickly become the hottest act in Australian country music.
In April, I caught Cox in an intimate mode in country Victoria. During this show, Cox alternated between guitar and piano; the set was stripped back and showcased the imminent release of his latest offering, “Acres”. In this “light show”, you got an intimate look at a true artist. I saw the “Heavy” version on Sunday, complete with his full band.
Cox is an interesting character; at first glance, this cowboy from the cold hills of Jindabyne is rough around the edges. He is loud and passionate, especially regarding his music, fans, and band. He has a larger-than-life stage presence, and, at times, colourful language flows freely. There is little time in his life for social media; you won’t see this bloke chasing likes on his Facebook page, and if you don’t like his style, that’s also okay. “I love Cox” is the slogan on his merchandise and is a clear winner; as you look around the room and see hats, shirts, and the odd tea towel being swung around, all this, and he has even taken the stage.
The crowd was warmed up by his talented fiance, Sammy White, a true artist to look out for in her own right and local girl Josie who was pinching herself she had the opportunity to play to such a big crowd.
As the stage light comes on, Cox, wearing a shirt that looks like it came from the 1970s and his now trademark mo hits the stage together with his four band of brothers. Opening with “Beer & Fishing” and flowing straight into “Them Things”, Cox’s keyboard intro into “Old Skoolin” was a hit, quickly pouring into “What Bought You Back”, all songs from the new album. It was clear from the start that the crowd would set the tone when it came to background singing. Every song was sung back to Cox word for word, which must be a real thrill to know as an artist, you are connecting to your fan base from the get-go. “If this isn’t country, I don’t know what is,” Cox told his audience, proudly highlighting his musical roots.
“Short-Lived Love” and “Remedy” from Cox’s 2020 second album “My Minds Projection” highlighted Cox’s diversity when it comes to songwriting. I have got three albums out now; that’s a lot of songs to cover” Clearly, the focus is now on the new album, which seriously must be a contender for CMA Country Album of the Year in Tamworth in 2024. “Acres” is sung and met with a roar by the appreciative crowd. “The crowd well receives Old Times Sake” again from the new album.
“Beau In the Back”, featuring Cox on keyboards, is always a crowd favourite and why not? It has the classic country ingredients a Ute, a girl and a dog. Partner Sammy White returned to the stage to play her original “Country as Cow Shit”. “No, She Ain’t” from the new album had the house jumping. A trip back in time with Cox’s early hit from his debut album “Lakehouse” seemed to have an unnecessary up-tempo to a classic country ballad. , I keep Driving from Single Life, Give Me Tonight, Maybe, Last Time Last from Cox’s last two albums finished the set.
On returning to the stage, Cox returned to the keyboards to give the audience a brief trip back to his first albums with quick exerts from his first album with “Somewhere Like Cheyenne”, and “Water on the Ground” both great songs and worthy of giving the crowd a full version, maybe next time.
The brotherhood on stage is vital. When Cox sings, ” I love the crowds, and I love the boys in my band” in his song “Acres”, the crowd goes off! Cox was humble and grateful for not only his band members but the lighting and sound guy and guitar tech, the venue itself and, of course, all of the fans. Finishing off with The David Bowie song “What In The World”, Cox referred to his comrades as “Wonderful Humans”, a mark of genuine respect and friendship.
Beer & Fishing, Them Things, Old Skoolin, What Bought You Back, Short Lived Love, Remedy, Acres, Old Times Sake, Beau in the Back, Country as Cow Shit, No She Aint, Lakehouse, I keep Driving, Single Life, Give Me Tonight, Maybe, Last Time Last.
Solo Piano Mix Somewhere Like Cheyenne, Water on the Ground, What in the World.