Paul Kelly @ Union Chapel, 3 February
Words by Lauren Taylor and Fiona Battey
Photography by Matt Higgs
THE name Paul Kelly is synonymous with Australian pub rock anthems, his music usually heard playing in bars from St Kilda to Kings Cross. For this reason it felt strange to be sitting on a civilised church pew in Union Chapel, London, amongst the many others here to worship this Australian rock icon. Paul delivered all the classics, along with a few of his new songs, including ‘From the Ages’, which were all well received by the predominately Aussie audience.
Joined on stage by his nephew, Dan Kelly, who as well as being a bit of alright delivered amazing backing vocals and had the crowd singing along to his somewhat cheesy song, ‘Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam’.
The intimate concert venue allowed for interaction and audience members spoke to Paul as though we were all sitting around his lounge room, having a sing-a-long to songs which most of us grew up listening to.
There were a few disappointed faces when Paul didn’t perform ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ but he redeemed himself by singing old favourites such as ‘How To Make Gravy’, ‘To Her Door’ and ‘Dumb Things’ , which not only had the whole chapel singing but also some of the more eager audience members’ dancing up a storm. For many, the music brought back memories of all things Australian, back yard barbeques, coldies down at the local RSL club and long summer days spent in the blistering sun down at the beach.
The support act also bears a mention, singer/songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke, another Aussie talent, currently working in the London opera, warmed the crowd up with her amazing vocals. Not to mention the fact that Kate was a good sport and stuck around for a drink after her set and was more than happy to have a chat and her photo taken with fans.
Just when we thought the evening was coming to an end, Paul returned to the stage and had the crowd singing once again to his ironic song ‘Every F***ing City’, a song about backpacking around Europe and the frustrations that can come with it, a song of which many Aussie travelers can identify with.
Although recent Australia Day celebrations left many expats feeling homesick, a night with Paul Kelly managed to lift the spirits of everyone in attendance. Paul’s acoustic sounds and use of the harmonica warmed our hearts on this particularly cold London night.