Mick Thomas Roving Commission, Cool Sounds, Brooke Taylor & The Poison Spitting Gin Queens Live at The Archies Creek Hotel January 1, 2022
By Nick Corr. Photos by Mark Hopper.
Is there a better way to start off the New Year than an early afternoon show on a gorgeous sunny day at the rustically charming Archies Creek Hotel?
Peter Foley and team have done a fantastic job in their few years running the pub. The large stage provides great sight-lines from both the seated or standing area directly in front or my preferred viewing location of the sloping grass at the back of the sweeping beer garden to stage right. Combined with an impressive line-up of shows to kick off 2022 – Archies Creek has fast become Caravan (Music Club) by the Sea.
Brooke Taylor pulled double-duty to kick things off with her Poison Spitting Gin Queens showcasing songs from her country/folk debut album “It’s The Little Things” before returning later as part of Mick Thomas’s Roving Commission.
Cools Sounds lived up to their name with some laid back indie guitar pop to keep things rolling. I got hints of early Velvets with their choppy/chugging rhythm guitar. Particularly inspired was an earnest cover of Huey Lewis and The News mid-Eighties classic ‘The Power of Love’. I’d highly recommend checking out their most recent album Bystander.
Mick Thomas Roving Commission are for my mind, one of the most reliable live acts playing around at the moment. I’ve seen many shows and never a bad performance. New Year’s Day was no exception with Mick performing a mix of new songs, material from his two decade solo career, and a chunky smattering of Weddings, Parties, Anything classics.
The current line-up features Mick’s long standing WPA companion Mark Wallace on accordion, Brooke Taylor on guitar/vocals, Dave Foley on drums and recent recruit Luke Richardson on bass.
The Paul Kelly co-write ‘Our Sunshine’ from Mick’s underrated double album The Horses Prayer is played early (PK also did his own version on his first Uncle Bill bluegrass album Smoke). I also really enjoyed the spoken/sung ‘Anything You Recognize’ which has become a showcase for Brooke Taylor’s powerful vocals. From their most recent release, the (mostly) covers album City’s Calling Me, the Roving Commision turn Sal Kimber’s jazzy ‘Met Police’ into a menacing stomper.
Weddings, Parties, Anything songs included their first single ‘Away Away’, ‘Monday’s Experts’, ‘Rain in My Heart’, and a great rearrangement of ‘Father’s Day’ to open the encore, starting with just Mick and Brooke in duo mood before slowly building into the full band.
For me the highlight was the few songs from Mick’s ‘lockdown record’ 2020’s See You on the Other Side. Especially the main set closer ‘See You When I’m Looking At You’ and ‘Rainbows and Bears’ in the encore.
Particularly pertinent given today’s show was almost canceled as several of the bar staff had to quarantine at short notice, forcing Mick to call in reinforcements from his own pub Melbourne’s Merri Creek Tavern, with Mark, Ash and Ro jumping in the car for a trip down the South Gippsland Freeway to save the day. As Mick joked from the stage later “I’ve had to do many things in my career, but it’s the first time I’ve had to bring my own bar staff”.