Audience: 18 and over
151 Musgrave Road, Red Hill
QLD, 4059, Australia.
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An unexpected shuffling of dates found Mick Turner with some free time on a Wednesday in Brisbane, ahead of a set supporting Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions across town at The Tivoli the following night. Tonight, we gather at a location far removed from that venue’s theatrical charm: the Lofly Hangar, a customised recording studio and live performance space located in Red Hill, to the west of central Brisbane.
Tonight’s not just a chance for Turner to play a rare Brisbane solo show, but to exhibit and sell his artwork. While the venue co-owners perform some last minute clean-up duties before the doors open, I watch him nailing prints to the wall, configuring a projector and painstakingly choosing the order in which his art appears throughout the room. For this show, at least, Turner spends far more time attending to his art than his music.
Regardless, Turner and his bandmates - drummer Jeffrey Wegener (Laughing Clowns, Ed Kuepper) and bassist Ian Wadley (of Bird Blobs, St Helens fame) - ease into an hour-long selection of typically ethereal, meandering wordless creations. Positioned before dozens of expired televisions and playing to a minimally lit room, this music feels at home. The first few rows are seated, while dozens more pack into the limited space behind them. Turner’s forgotten to press play on the projector, which shines into Wegener’s eyes throughout.
Tonight, he favours loop pedals and overlaid melodic interjections, and occasionally applies a violin bow to his strings. For the most part, Wadley and Wegener stay discreet, save for a couple of brief sections wherein the three converge upon a moment. In contrast to the gentle ebb and flow, these outbursts are frightening: an electrical charge injected into the brain, reminding us that these are musicians of a rare, wondrous quality.
At one point, Turner applies one loop pedal too many and loses the original signal somewhere between the noise, while the rhythm section lock into an improvised groove of their own. A replacement amp is installed and Turner sheepishly apologises. He need not be concerned. Judging by the quiet respect shown toward his band tonight, that we’re here together is reward in itself.
by Andrew McMillen