Review: Darren Middleton & Guy Pearce

DOUBLE ACT: Guy Pearce with Darren Middleton at Lizotte’s, Lambton. Picture: Dean OslandREVIEW
Nanjing Night Net

Darren Middleton & Guy Pearce

Lizotte’s Newcastle, February 19

THIS was never going to be an easy sell. One guy famous, for acting. The other guy famous for the band he used to be in.

But let’s be clear: the crowd reaction indicated they loved the whole show, from beginning to end. Pearce is a natural on stage, and he chatted all night long, to both his stage partners and to the audience. Middleton was relaxed, ripping some great guitar in and out of the your-turn-my-turn set.

Backed by The Octobers (Kelly Lane, Shannon Birchall, Marty Brown and Talei Wolfgramm), a four-piece outfit designed for the tour, the two leading men set about building a platform for music they like to play. Playing songs off the back of each of their recent albums, Translations by Middleton and Broken Bones by Pearce, they called it the Broken/Translations tour. Cute, but not so clever.

If you were the guy making the call on this band’s album, it would be the Middleton songs, hands down. Starting with the encore, The Metre, which Middleton can claim credit for, off Powderfinger’s Odyssey Number Five album. Absolutely prime beef rock’n’roll. Adding from the back of the set, you would take Pearce’s Taste, a very Powderfinger-like song assisted by Middleton’s great guitar burn.

Still picking from the back of the deck, we’ll take Middleton’s Failing Now and Storms, both touched with that Powderfinger DNA in some way. Add Set It Right and Be With You, from Middleton.

You can pick over the rest, maybe I need to hear them again. The Middleton songs certainly sounded more raw and real live.

I appreciate Guy Pearce answering his own call to take his music on the road. He’s a capable musician and has great stage presence. His voice at times was even David Bowie-like. But if I was blindfolded, I’d have gone with the real rock’n’roller. And I would have asked for more from the women on stage (Kelly Lane and Talei Wolfgramm), because what they did offer was dynamite.