Montara Wines in the hills just south of Ararat is gaining a reputation for presenting quality live entertainment in an amazingly scenic location paired with award-winning wines.
Billed as an intimate wine and music journey exploring Church hits and misses, Kilbey’s private collection, songs not yet written, and songs that never will be written, this close-quarters barebones show delivered all of the above, with Kilbey aficionados treated to deep cuts, reinterpretations and classic Church songs that defined a generation.
Kilbey has a presence about him, a confidence and swagger that comes with a lifetime on the road. Walking shoulder to shoulder through the crowded bar space onto a simple stage, Steve simply introduced himself, picked up his instrument and began the set.
Standing eyeball level with 90 or so punters hanging off every lyric and chord from the signature chime of his 12 string guitar, the man knows what these songs mean to people and delivers them simply and raw, as if playing them to a friend in his home. With that type of feel in mind, he was forced to politely ask a rowdy back pocket of distracted punters to pipe down, further cementing his control of the room and acknowledging the dedicated followers intent on devouring the lyrical content and nuance of the performance. It was a bold move but one that further endeared him to the music lovers in the room.
Accompanied by polar opposite character, the jolly Chilean musician Rodrigo Bustos on guitar and backing vocals, the journey through an all too select few of Steve’s almost 1000 published song catalogue weaves its way through almost 40 years of songs teamed with stories and anecdotes from the road. 1981 mainstream Church hit Unguarded Moment is completely stripped raw, and sits comfortably with newer material such as ‘Sydney Rococo’ from the 2018 solo album Sydney Rococo with the centrepiece placed ideally three quarters into the set, the title track to this special evening of music Under the Milky Way, a song that defines a point in time for so many.
To see a musician that holds such a dear place in the hearts and minds of music fans across the country, in such casual and intimate surrounds is a rare thing. To be close enough to almost hear his voice unamplified, to watch him interact with Rodrigo in such a musically complementary way and to be a part of a small crowd all experiencing something undeniably special is a real treat, especially outside the city.
Montara Wines, Ararat
An Evening Under the Milky Way
Friday 2 August.
Reviewed by Jason Meehan
Photos by Jim Lee Photo