Tonight was a rare opportunity to see three truly unique and individual singer/songwriters doing their thing, stripped back to their absolute basics in the intimate surrounds of Melbourne’s Cherry Bar.
First up was infamous renaissance man Fred Negro, ably assisted by his long-time partner in crime, guitarist Dave Moll. Negro was relatively restrained, in that he managed to keep his clothes on for once! His half-hour set included originals such as “Why Don’t We Get Drunk & Screw?” and “Beer Sandwich” interspersed with cover versions of songs like Roger Miller’s “King Of The Road”. While an enjoyable set, his constant profanity can become somewhat tiring after a while.
Following was Tim Rodgers. Best known as frontman for You Am I, Rogers was in solo mode and were treated to, in his own words, an hour of “singer/songwriter bullshit.” Featuring wonderful tracks like “I Didn’t Plan To Be Here Either, Baby” and “The Older Guys”; his solo material has a beautifully written and nakedly raw, honest quality to it. It was an absolute pleasure to hear these songs performed live, even if the sound of the crowd at the bar did, at times, drown out the music.
Eddie Spaghetti, best-known as the frontman for legendary band The Supersuckers, was also in solo mode. One man, an acoustic guitar and some killer songs.
Opening with “Dead In The Water”, he proceeded to charm and cajole the crowd before him for the next hour and a half. The very loosely put together set, consisting primarily of requests from the audience, traversed many high points in Eddie’s career. “Bubblegum And Beer”, played as a request for a female punter’s birthday, was a standout. The crowd were in fine voice during “Non-Addictive Marijuana”, where one could see complete strangers throwing their arms around each other, making for a fun and enjoyable night.
For this scribe, “Dead Homies” was the standout of the night. Imagine, if you will, a white man singing rap with an acoustic guitar. Most people would fall flat on their face in such an attempt, but Eddie pulled it off brilliantly. Already a gifted singer and songwriter, it was also something of a surprise to hear what an accomplished guitarist he is. One is used to seeing him out front of The Supersuckers with his trademark, beat up as hell, black Gibson bass guitar.
During “Killer Weed”, Eddie recounted a story about Willie Nelson’s trailer van in which the pair smoked the titular dope, including Nelson’s line “this was the shit that killed Elvis Presley!” with the audience hanging on every word. Finishing the song with a loud “Cha! Cha! Cha!”, a running gag throughout the evening.
Assisted by a highly intoxicated Fred Negro, Eddie’s encore included the priceless “Pretty Fucked Up”, illustrating Negro’s state beautifully. Finishing the set with the truly immortal “Born With A Tail”, one of this performer’s best songs. Even in acoustic mode, it still felt like a bolt of lightning straight to the heart. It came complete with the crowd ‘flying the finger’ with a sea of middle fingers during the song.
This was an incredibly enjoyable and fun night had by all. Come back soon, Eddie!
– Neil Evans