Back in the day (waaay back) before we had kids and when being a ‘school night’ wasn’t an issue, we would regularly head down to the grungy Prince Patrick Hotel in Collingwood to see Dave Hosking perform on a Sunday night. A consummate singer, songwriter and storyteller, listening to Dave was a, melancholic way to ward off Sunday-itis. More often than not, though, we would find ourselves battling the sound of billiard balls being hit at the back of the pub or turning to ‘shush’ people that were there to drink and talk rather than listen. It’s often the case with informal venues that listening to high quality music (of the more acoustic variety) ends up being a bitter-sweet experience - too often marred by competing noise, nowhere to sit or the band starting just about the time you’re ready to head home! I know. I know. I sound old - I am. But even back then when I WASN’T old I would fantastise about the idea of being able to listen to my favourite local musicians in comfort and with the respectful silence they deserved without having to go to a formal concert.
So it was kind of a dream come true a few weeks ago that we found ourselves hosting Dave Hosking in our home for what was a truly magical night of performance, connectivity and great food supplied by friends! We were first introduced to the Parlourgigs concept when our daughter Gretta Ray was invited to perform for a house concert in Moonee Ponds. Such a brilliant idea! A seed was planted - and in no time at all the good folks at Parlour had set us up to host David. We knew it would be great – we just didn't know HOW great.
The beautiful thing about a Parlour audience is the deep respect they have for the person and the music they have come to hear. No clinking billiard balls, no competing conversations, no aggressive coffee machines or empty glass collecting – just the pure sound of guitar, keyboards and voice. We were all captivated not only by the quality of the music, but by the stories he interspersed amongst the songs. Knowing Dave has recently recorded and performed in Ireland, I felt we were all privy to something of that traditional, community way of sharing music in the round. A house concert creates the kind of trust and intimacy that can bring out the best in a musician and Dave did not disappoint. Opening with the heart-wrenchingly delicate “All that Beauty” taking requests including the anthemic “Bigger than England” and even generously indulging the crowd in one of his exquisite ‘kid’s’ songs ‘Snappin at flies”, Dave also treated us to a selection of sublime new songs that will appear on his forthcoming, eighth album. Dave left us all feeling truly nurtured and that we had experienced something quite special – his incredible music the way it is supposed to be heard.