Andy and the band kick off the night with ‘Blue’ off Andy’s debut 2020 EP, Namoi. The soft riffs and snare drum beats provide a comforting slower start than I expected but nonetheless welcome. Andy hits the high notes as the crowd cheers for more. I read the SMH article before the show to get a feel of what I should expect of this show and happily came across this quote from Andy speaking to the meaning of some of the lyrics in ‘Blue’.
“It’s about questioning your voice and questioning your health and not leaving your bedroom and not wanting to sing sad songs, ’cause that’s the reason you’re sad. You’ve written so many sad songs – have you just become a sad song?”
Andy and Nick start rubbing shoulders and smiling as the chorus kicks in for the first song off the new album ‘Love Like This’. This song initially draws me in with its twangy guitars but I’m sold after witnessing a cute moment between Caitlin Harnett on banjo and Andy, as they start rubbing noses.
“It’s really great to see so many familiar faces, new faces, old faces and somewhere in-between. It’s been one hell of a journey to get to this evening but everyday is the best day you’re ever gonna get. This next song is called 1170, feel free to sing at the top of your lungs if you know the words.” says Andy. The crowd sings along with the strums of the acoustic guitar and Andy starts to play. Is it just me or is Andy making extended eye contact with each and every person in this crowd? His power is taking effect as people in the crowd lift their drink to him and continue to dance, feeling his music in a way personal to them.
Next up is their title track ‘Strength of a Queen’ from their new album. Followed by the slow jam ‘Dreaming Of A Highway’ and ‘Ghost Of Love’. ‘Ghost of Love’ is the type of song that really builds to an anthemic chorus. The whole crowd is singing and clapping along.
“This next song is for Nick Golledge. I know I tell this story everytime I play this song but I feel like it’s very imperative to explain a song. So a few years ago my brother was going through a really tough time, he was having multiple seizures daily and through miscommunications the doctors put it down to an anxiety disorder. It basically rendered him agoraphobic for about a year, 2 years. He was convinced that his anxiety was doing this, you know, causing all of this. So at the time I wrote him this song. As someone who suffers some severe anxiety, it’s very easy to isolate yourself when you feel that way and it’s very important to realise your worth. Everything you think you are worth, it’s very important to reach out to friends and your loved ones and just keep on moving.”
‘Run to the River’ tells a poignant narrative that swells and builds as the song goes on. It’s an anthem for mental health, something we can all surely relate to having just gone through hard times during this pandemic. The tempo slows right down for ‘Life Jacket’ as Andy explains how he wrote the song and the dark but relevant context of suicide and support it draws on. This is another song that peaks with heavy drums and Andy’s strong howling voice breaking through the electric guitars.
The first verse of ‘Heavy Hand’ brings out how haunting Andy’s voice can sound. Before the chorus kicks in and everyone is bopping their heads around to the music.
Alt-Rock of ‘New Stamp’ is a crowd favourite as cheers erupt from the crowd as you feel the electricity in the atmosphere shift. Everyone is dancing, singing and rocking their hips side to side. A moment this gal was not prepared for was when Andy yells get down! The whole crowd around me shifts and crouches down to the floor, I lift my head up not soon enough to realise Andy and the guitarists are all crouching down as they play as well. Before I knew it everyone was back up on their feet and rocking out.
In traditional Andy Golledge fashion he takes his shirt off and invites the crowd to do the same, I see a lot of sweaty chests of all kinds as many people take him up on his offer. Jumping into their last song of the night ’Rescue Me’. Andy dives on top of the front row and starts surfing and the crowd is ready to catch him with open arms as he seamlessly keeps playing despite all the hands!
Andy downs a beer (one of his own I’m assuming!) before heading back on top of the crowd who lift him up to the ceiling adoringly. By then Caitlin has a crack before jumping into the crowd with her guitar and playing from the centre of the crowd. Andy joins her - this is the most unconventional gig I’ve been to in a very long time.
Andy returns on stage in only underwear as Caitlin with only her guitar to cover her walks out topless before addressing the women in the crowd “Alright ladies get your tops off don’t leave me out here on my own, I need back-up titties!” This crowd is rowdy, charged and ready to go as Andy and the band build tension and launch into ‘Ain’t Nobody’.
Andy invites anyone who wants to, to join them on stage for sing-along ‘Baby Mumma’. Young, old, mullet, no mullet, there are all types of people who rush the stage and take part singing along and performing as one of the band. Everyone is belting out the final lyrics of this song “Baby mumma come on now, baby mumma help me out” as the song slowly fades the voices of the crowd only get stronger. What a song to finish on with half the crowd on the stage this is certainly been a night to remember.