Review by Billy Geary
On the 13th of April last year, The Tea Party announced that they had reformed after a six-year break. A tour of their native country in Canada quickly followed and, as such, it was only a matter of time before the Reunion Tour made it to Australia. Saturday night at The Hi-Fi was the second show of the tour, the first being at Melbourne’s Palais the night before.
Lone support band Georgia Fair peddled their inoffensive indie/folk rock to a largely disinterested crowd. The pair soldiered on through their lively half hour set, eventually winning over a few early comers, despite the stark contrast in sound with the headliners. Newer track ‘Blind’ in particular managed to turn more than a few heads, however Saturday night was all about The Tea Party.
A little after 9pm, the three men everyone was there to see strode out onto the Hi-Fi’s stage, looking confident and visibly stoked to be playing gigs again. Wasting no time, the trio tore straight into ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ and within one song, Jeff Martin and co had the audience in raptures. For the following two and a bit hours there was no place anyone in the room would rather have been. Early renditions of ‘The Baazar’ and the epic ‘Correspondences’ went down well, however it was the cover of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Last Goodbye’ followed by ‘The Messenger’ where The Tea Party truly affirmed their reputation as an outstanding live act.
Towards the middle of the set, things were slowed down a touch, with Martin bringing out his acoustic guitar. What followed was a simply outstanding section of music, featuring favourite ‘The Badger’ and an incredible rendition of Led Zeppelin classic ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine.’ It was The Tea Party at their most organic and arguably their best. Mention must be made of bassist/keyboardist Stuart Chatwood, who throughout the set provided bundles of energy no matter what instrument he was playing.
After playing to a theatre crowd the night before, the trio were clearly relishing the chance to play in a more intimate setting. The energy in the room told a similar story, with punters buzzing and sing-alongs abound, especially through ‘Fire in the Head’ and ‘Save Me.’ The latter in particular featuring one of the more memorable moments of the set in a mid song cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir.’ Combining the cover with the entire crowd singing the chorus of ‘Save Me’ made for a pretty special moment. After finishing the main set with the stomping ‘Temptation,’ punters were left begging for more, the band obliging in swift fashion. The triple hit of ‘Overload,’ ‘Winter Solstice’ and a huge rendition of ‘Sister Awake’ was the perfect end to an absolutely outstanding set, with Jeff Burrows’ drumming chops being the centre piece of the finale.
Saturday night was an absolutely outstanding return from a band dearly loved by Australia. The break has clearly worked wonders for The Tea Party, the three-piece looking completely revitalised and ready play music together for a long while yet. Here’s hoping they hurry back to Melbourne with a new album in tow.
JULY 2012 TOUR DATES
SAT 14 JULY – MELBOURNE – PALAIS THEATRE
SUN 15 JULY – MELBOURNE – THE HIFI
TUE 17 JULY – BRISBANE – THE TIVOLI
SAT 21 JULY – SYDNEY – HORDERN PAVILION
TUE 24 JULY – ADELAIDE – THEBARTON THEATRE
THU 26 JULY – PERTH – METRO CITY
Full Details and Ticketing information at www.daintygroup.com
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