Dangerfield! And Harley David

Date: 17th Dec, 2010

Venue: Kings Head Hotel

Gig: SA Lotteries Christmas Bash

Act: Dangerfield!

This was the last Dangerfield! show of the year, and one I would normally not have taken, but I got a plaintive cry in late November from Sarah at SA Lotteries who had left it too late to go through normal channels. They were stuck and I’m a sucker for someone in trouble. So despite knowing that we’d be running around like headless chooks getting ready for the PlanB tour of Vietnam (leaving 23rd Dec) I said we’d do it. Sarah was suitably grateful (OK, I might be a sucker, but I still like appreciation!) and asked if we could start at 5. They had the room from 5 to 7. I explained it was difficult as we both worked during the day but arranged for a 5:15 start thinking that I could just leave work early. I had been in the office for the past 18 months and that didn’t look like changing, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. That afternoon Murphy kicked in and I had an interview arranged with a client in town. I obviously impressed them as they wanted me to start the next Monday, in town. This means bus, no car, and less flexible work hours. At this point, dear reader, imagine the following phrase (in italics) spoken with the derision that only a teenage girl can muster… Tuh! Typical!

Some of you may already know that I’ve been working with Adelaide based international Jazz diva Catherine Lambert for a year or so, working towards a new musical project; Harley David, the Aussie Swingman. We had planned to do a set at the Sussex hotel together on the 5th December, but this fell through due to illness and conflicting bookings, so I had written off 2010 as the Harley David debut and was looking forward to 2011. During a session with Catherine in early December, she mentioned she was MC-ing for the annual St. Luke’s charity gig, where money is raised to support the work that St. Luke’s mission (in Whitmore Square, Adelaide) does for the homeless. She said she would probably do a couple of songs as well, and asked if I was interested. “Sure,” I said “sounds great. When is it?” She replies “17th December” … Tuh! Typical!

As it turned out, my involvement with the St. Luke’s show wasn’t required until a little later in the evening. As the SA Lotteries gig was a short one (finishing at 7pm) I figured I could do both. So I committed to St. Luke’s as well. Launching Harley was something I had been working towards for a while, and a 1 song appearance with Catherine was ideal. We decided to do Summertime, from Porgy and Bess, a great song to duet with.

Back to the SA Lotteries gig; as it worked out I had a couple of extra hours accrued with my work in the city, so I was able to leave early on the 17th to set up at about 4:15. Take that, Murphy! Part way through the day I got a call from Sarah, “Sorry to have to ask you this,” (that’s never a good sign at the start of a conversation) “but the venue doesn’t have a PA system. Can I ask a huge favour and ask you to stick around for an extra 5 minutes for the CEO to give a speech? We’re happy to pay you guys for the extra time and you can help yourselves to the bar”. Sucker time again. “Sure,” I say, “5 minutes? No problem. Don’t worry about the extra money, happy to help”. I didn’t recognize it at the time but Murphy was snickering in the background. “Fantastic, you guys are the best! It shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes at most. Seeya!”. Wait. What?

We get to the gig, Rick and I got the stage set properly and start on time. The room is square and with few soft furnishings, which is a nightmare for getting a good sound. Add to that some loud drunk people (not the SA Lotteries staff, they were saints saint) and it was actually quite hard to hear anything on stage despite having the speakers next to us. Nevertheless, we powered through the first set, had a short break, and launched into the second.  All this time there had been various examples of finger food brought out and consumed. Part way through the second set, I was singing and someone came out with a platter of hot chips. Yum. As they walked past, a very aromatic smell coming from the accompanying sauce followed. I couldn’t believe it. I almost gagged. Fish Sauce!! With hot chips?? What the hell was that doing with a bowl of chips?? Despite me almost fainting, we finished at the appointed time. Hopefully the CEO’s address shouldn’t take too long, I thought; Sarah comes up… “OK, Brett, we’ll just do the speeches now and you guys can go”.

Again, suitably grateful.  Again, the Murphy snickering.

“As soon as we’ve done Kris Kringle”. Wait. What?

Date: 17th Dec, 2010

Venue: St. Luke’s, Whitmore Square, Adelaide

Gig: St. Luke’s Christmas Fundraiser

Act: Harley David

Australian Swingman, Harley David

We eventually get out of there about 8pm, packed and ready to go. I make my way to St. Lukes with a car full of gear, still dressed in my Dangerfield! togs. I find a park, get out and find Catherine only to discover she’s stressed out about some of the MC stuff going pear shaped. I wasn’t late, as it happened; there were a few more acts to go before we did our stuff.  Her Divaness quickly rips into me about not wearing a black T-Shirt as previously discussed. I dress down as much as I can, but obviously not quite enough as she hands over her leather jacket. “Here, wear this! Don’t argue!!!I said a black T-Shirt – what the hell is this grey thing?”

The ‘few more acts’ turned out to take longer than I had anticipated. Catherine and Harley finally made it to the stage close to midnight. I was buggered, I knew I had a big weekend coming and most people had left by the time we got on. The plus side of this, though, is that I got to see several world class acts in that little church hall that I never would have otherwise been exposed to: Anthony DAntonio (indie, roots), Kathy Pike (indie singer songwriter), Andy and Marta, Sweet baby James (an amazingly good blues guitarist and performer)
Sweet Baby James stood out as a deadest legend of blues guitar and vocals. The night and the duet with the Bluescasters plus Sweet Baby James backing us up was really enjoyable, and I managed to get some video that I’ve posted up on Facebook link to Harley Facebook page.

Harley is born. In your face, Murphy!