Live Review: Wolfe Bros + Jody Direen + Caitlyn Shadbolt + Troy Kemp + Gord Bamford + Christie Lamb, Twin Towns, Friday 28 October

This Crazy Life, was a tour showcasing country music’s ‘up and comers’ – an eight date October juggernaut led by the Wolfe Brothers, well known for being runners up in Australia’s Got Talent 2012.  Some may remember them in the spotlight on TV or as the hardworking country rock outfit from Tasmania who threw in their day jobs to tour with Lee Kernaghan. They can now be remembered by giving help conjuring up this roadshow as passionate advocates of Australian country music talent, leveraging their success and networks to create a platform for new country music recruits.

After shielding one’s eyes from the bright lights and big carpets of Twin Towns, a realisation occurs that there is nothing like this showroom’s huge but intimate theatre space – the lighting effects and quality of sound are terrific and even though a boutique beer is nowhere to be found as told by the friendly barman; “We don’t have that good stuff here” –  we reciprocated a laugh with “Well we’ll have the best of your bad stuff then!”

The night opened with The Wolfe Brothers; Nick (guitar/vocals) and Tom Wolfe (bass/vocals), guitarist Brodie Rainbird, acoustic guitarist Jonathan English and drummer Casey Kostiuk performing Country Music Channel chart hits; Close to Gone and their third album title song This Crazy Life – a tightly played country rock number with guitarist Rainbird heavy on the schmick rock riffs, part-time drummer Kostiuk tearing up the tom toms and the brothers singing “cold beer and sunny weather, some things look good together.” Next on stage was Jodie Direen – who spends time between her native New Zealand and Nashville.  Direen has the pipes to prove that she is a country music star waiting in the wings, her three original songs showcased classic country with a whole lot of ‘Dolly’ thrown in – of note her new song Spitfire from her soon-to-be-released album.

As the individual performers strutted and sang their stuff, the Wolfe Brothers multi-tasked by playing house-band, backing vocals to each song, all whilst shooting friendly banter promoting each singer – a pretty amazing feat. Kemspey’s towering Troy Kemp lifted the crowd with his wry humour and Keith Urbanish voice starting with Big time small town girl and You might be a little more country than you think, accompanied by an evident fan base cheering him on after every song. Of interest was Gympie’s Caitlyn Shadbolt, CMC New Oz Artist of the Year and X Factor star who sang the radio friendly Running in Circles a social justice hit song brewing within country music networks. Shadbolt finished her slick set with one of Australia’s best loved rock anthems, Bow River penned by Ian Moss.  Tamworth’s Golden Guitar new talent winner and multi-instrumentalist and country popstar Christie Lamb performed her new single Broken record and classic country hit Wish you were a cowboy. The international draw card of the night was Canada’s big man Gord Bamford, who played his guitar if it were a toothpick alongside his resonant Nashville borrowed drawl.  However the real stars were the ladies who sang interesting songs with a little bit of that Nashville fairy dust.

I love the Wolfe Brothers tenacity to take a gamble and embrace head on the opportunities given.  They have been able succeed without their day jobs on these ideas and instincts.  The key is not to look at what you take from these things it’s to look at what they give you – a relaxing Friday night out, listening to honest and authentic country.  After attending the concert many friends have since confessed, Oh I like country! I would like to know if the Gold Coast’s music audiences are just a little more country than they think.

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