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Gabriel Lynch – “Dependent State” EP Launch at The Toff in Town

Thursday, March 30, 2013

Rugging myself up after probably the most wet & wild day in Melbourne so far in 2013, and after a train ride where the driver conveniently left the air conditioning on to freeze us poor passengers, I was pleased to set myself in a warm room, and greeted by the warm tunes of Leadlight.

Being the first time I’d seen the band in its full set up, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What I got was far beyond what I would have imagined! Daniel Peterson’s clean and beaming vocal leads the way for this somewhat intimidating folk outfit.

Seasoned campaigners are the Leadlight crew, accentuated by Ollie Jones’ telecaster – which provides the tell-tale folky ring; behind, a rhythm section of which words don’t really do any justice. Rumour has it that drummer Dan Richardson is part-time with the symphony! George Borthwick holds steady and contrite bottom-end back beat, a perfect compliment to Richardson’s technique.

Leadlight’s sound is topped off in grand style with the winding and softly nudging cello lines from Andrew Chong.

I’m always somewhat put off by the darkness in this room at The Toff, and I find myself playing a game of ‘Where’s Gabriel’ between bands, both to say “Hello;” and to also politely inform him that he’d left me off the doorlist for the night (in which case he is lucky I continued with the review!)

The room is instantly lit up with Esther Holt’s first song which serves as a polite transition from Leadlight’s earlier set.

The inflection from Holt and her band strays more towards a country vibe, with a lead banjo in the hands of Esther herself and a classic ‘walking fingers’ lead guitar. Particular note should also be given to Esther Holt’s long & flowing suede – or sheepskin (I couldn’t quite tell from the back corner) – coat, which unfortunately only lasted two songs.

Blissful backing harmonies are lead by keys player Lily Parker. Beyond this, every instrument sits nicely in its place without really providing us with any ‘wow’ moments. Just as I finish writing ‘wow’, however, Holt moves to the keys and takes the audience in an entirely new direction.

We now hear a ‘naked’ vocal complemented by the underlying simplicity (not necessarily a bad thing) of what is transpiring around her on stage. Holt’s set came in a few different sections, it appears to me. Some unexpected twists occurred after setting up a direction with the opening two numbers – nothing had particularly moved me about the performance, and I was left having experienced a nice listening session.

One of Melbourne’s favourite sons then takes to the stage; Ryan Meeking and his band Whitaker, and immediately the expectations of the crowd would jump higher.

A brutish, yet non-offensive sound is welcomed after the intimate settings provided by the first two acts. The mood is lifted with the initial portion of the Whitaker set. I pay particular attention again to the quality harmonies by Simon Rabl on bass, Brett Scapin on guitars & Nigel Moyes on drums.

By song 3, Meeking shows us his solo vocal talents whilst stripping back the band’s sound. It’s never down to a ‘soft’ level, thanks to a solid drum performance by Moyes coupled with Rabl’s hefty bass and Scapin’s light, yet crunchy lead Telecaster.

Whitaker are ambient, whilst still being lyrical; a loud band which still breaks away into Meeking’s singer/songwriter roots; a balanced and controlled release at each precise moment due to spectacular arrangement.

I am left thinking perhaps, given the standard, that this was a very bold choice for support act…

Gabriel Lynch has been spruiking the fact that he is playing with a full band at this show for quite some time, however I never imagined the band would be a 6-piece, complete with string section!

The sound is full (there I go; stating the obvious), and Gabriel is in a trance full of gratitude. He’s pulling licks on the guitar I’ve never seen him play, such is the semblance of having a well-oiled set of musicians behind you.

Lynch opens the door to a very inviting home. The carpet is clean, neatly vacuumed – in some places, there’s hard wood, recently polished with Owen Downie’s tight licks on the 6-string bass. The home is beautifully decorated (some what expensively) with Christian Meyer on the lead guitar and Brendon Tsui on the keys. The back door opens to the delightful garden ornaments immediately apparent, being the strings provided by Natasha Conrau (violin) and Vincent Ward (cello), and all opens up to a fantastic centrepiece which brings the whole experience together: Andy Rousch on the drum kit.

Gabriel Lynch has developed himself a fine collection of musicians; they don’t lead you down the garden path, they provide you with the ultimate grand tour!

The crowd is instigated with his now infamous two-part call and response routine in the song ‘Sweetheart’ and followed by a lovely vocal & bass rendition of ‘And So it Goes’ by Billy Joel – delivered with such poignant sincerity and experience.

Each sound exquisitely composed from Gabriel’s inner thoughts and intentions, enhancing his already pervasive talent. A true treat for everyone in the building, whether they’ve seen him before or not. Lynch has The Toff in silence as he and his band trudge on through the set, giving all and sundry a great excuse to purchase his EP.

Gabriel Lynch’s ‘Dependent State’ is now available for purchase at gabriellynch.bandcamp.com

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.

Author Details

Josh Forner

Josh Forner is a folk/pop songwriter from Melbourne, Australia and Virginia, USA. Forner was born in Melbourne on July 2 1988, and spent the first 18 months of his life there before moving with his parents to the town of Reston in Virginia, USA. At the age of 3, Forner and his mother returned to Melbourne, where he has stayed ever since.

Josh sings of love, primarily (wow, what a shock right?), but also on his list of ‘hot topics’ are politics, famine, poverty and - of course – landscapes: the folk writer’s favourite.

He’s played with some of Melbourne’s stalwarts including Timothy Cannon, Bridget Pross, Mr Brady, Pro Rata, Gabriel Lynch & Kyle Taylor, and has contributed two of his tracks to non-profit compilation CDs in the past.

Josh’s repertoire continues to grow. He released his first album, a 10-track LP entitled ‘Leading to Nowhere’ at The Workers Club on May 28th, 2013. Forner has since returned to the studio to begin work on a 5-track solo EP to be released by the end of 2013. Following that, he has plans for album number two in 2014.

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