The old Liars Bar has been rocking out for a good while now. No, not with those sad old cover bands playing to sad middle-aged women squeezed into bussom and crutch hugging, garb. Well that’s how I remember it in days gone by.
No. Now on Sunday evenings it is rocking with fresh new tunes, fresh new people and some of the best local and national bands this fine land continues to spawn.
Artist in question this fine, freezing winter eve – HARTS. Quite a coup to score this young prodigy. His star is rising dramatically, rapidly. If he had not been booked eight months before, we may not be blessed with his presence. He’s come from sold-out shows across the nation, and here he is on our unusually icy shores. For free.
I first saw Harts – Darren Harts, 24 year old Melbournian virtuoso – earlier this year, almost by accident. I was wandering the streets of Byron -as you do – enroute to the Beach Hotel to see CLIENT LIASON. Had caught this duo the year before at Oh Hello! for BIGSOUND and was mighty impressed with their funky-as, 80’s inspired synth pop and fashion flare.
I bumped into a fellow music-fiend wandering the streets of Byron, walking away from The Beachie, and said to him, “You must come see Client Liason”. He said he had just caught their first set and that I must come to The Northern to see Harts. “He’s going to be the next-big-thing”.
I had the mammoth pleasure of seeing both those brilliant acts that night. And for free. Loves ya Byron.
I wasn’t familiar with Harts at the time. I was instantly blown away. He has been constantly compared and likened to none other than both Hendrix and Prince. Both influences are brilliantly, majestically, obvious.
ROLLING STONE magazine stated : “A supernaturally talented young buck who’s mastered Hendrix’s blistering guitar shredding and the electro-funk pop perfection of Prince in his early Eighties prime”. Man. High praise.
I get to have a brief chat with “the young buck” before his gig in Broadie. Quietly spoken, reserved. I asked him how on earth it came about that he actually got to play with Prince. In the flesh. In person. Wow.
He was about to answer when our conversation was interrupted. Damn you damn intruder. Talking to some of the crew later, I find out that Prince was sent a demo of Harts music – by someone – and was so impressed he flew him to the States to jam with him. Double Wow.
Prince has even said, “he reminds me of how I was at that age”.
Harts is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer. He is pretty damn hot to watch. The crowd is hooked. The enthusiasm in the room was magic.. so groovy, funky. Looping guitar, bopping keys, smooth, sultry lyrics. He finished the set with the almighty, mind-blowing , spine-tingling “Purple Haze”. Guitar behind his head, not in imitation but in homage to the mighty man, Hendrix must be shredding from beyond. Excuse me while I kiss the sky.