Josh Pyke’s incredible career spanning more than 17 years has firmly secured his place as one of Australia’s favourite indie artists. Hailing from Sydney, and embarking on a nationwide 2017 tour before his extended hiatus at the end of the year, saw him reaching the Norwood Hotel for a night of acoustic frivolity on last Friday.
From those who have only recently been exposed to his work, to those whose high school playlists were riddled with his work, the Norwood Hotel became a watering spot for people of all ages.
Opening the show was Harrison Storm, a talented guitarist and vocalist whose smooth acoustics set the scene for the ‘memories and dust’ tour to follow. His first song Feeling Of Love, harboured soft vocals and contributed a nostalgic ambience to the fairy lit, tin roofed bar. Despite re-tuning his guitar through the set, he delivered a professional performance, moving into New State Of Mind, Sense Of Home and Cold Floor.
Josh Pyke swaggered onto stage after a short interlude with the cavalier of a seasoned professional. His guitar strap sported a range of icons from his various albums, and harmonica, double microphone, loop pedal and acoustic guitar waited for him to begin.
Without a word he opened into Lines On Palms, he first track in his title album which the audience was looking forward to hearing in its entirety, seeing the crowd draw close in anticipation. Choosing the chorus back in sweet harmonies, it became evident that this was a group incredibly familiar with his work. Picking up the pace with Memories And Dust, and the Forever Song, brought electricity to the dance floor, with a number of people breaking into movement while others swayed beside their loved ones. It was then that he greeted the audience with a dry wit and cutting humour, singling out the loudest cheered to become the official timekeeper for the night, ensuring the crowd would continue to sing along.
Mannequins featured a loop pedal while Sew My Name, saw Josh perform an impressive harmonica solo, singing, strumming and maintaining the background harmonies like a pro. It was when the first few rhythmic strike of Middle Of The Hill started however that there were murmurs through the crowd; everyone’s favourite was about to begin. A song of fast vocals, more like a poem than a song, it details childhood adventures, dreaming of hidden places and there was something very neverland about the experience.
Closing with Make You Happy, The Summer, Leeward Side, and Love Lies, after an extended encore, left the audience feeling satisfied that all his classics were heard. Josh never fails to put on a consistently impressive show, this is one Australian gem that you can not miss.
Review by Robyn Jade