LIVE REVIEW: Tiny Ruins @ Notes, Sydney 22/07/11

written by Chris Familton

Sam Shinazzi opened the evening in three piece mode with Barry Adamson on guitar and Peabody’s Bruno Brayovic on bass. Playing mainly tracks from his recently released album When the Lights Come Up Shinazzi did justice to the recorded versions, even exceeding them in some cases like the wistful Movie of Your Life and the devotional Everything To Me. Brayovic provided some wonderful backing harmonies while Adamson’s guitar work provided colour and mood to Shinazzi’s laid back songs.

Grand Salvo is a curious visual proposition with his nondescript clothing and rural hair and beard. Is he shy? Is he eccentric? Does he occupy a world populated by delicate phrases and tender music? That last question is answered with a resounding yes when he quietly appears on stage and begins to play some of the most enchanting music you will hear around these parts. Otherwise known as Paddy Mann he plays folk music that incorporates classical elements and a mystical quality. A man alone with an acoustic guitar needs to be a special talent to hold a room silent and spellbound and Mann did just that. The melodically rich Needles was a particular highlight with its cycling lines heavy with imagery, as was the thematically sad Flowers from Grand Salvo’s last album Soil Creatures.

Tiny Ruins aka New Zealander Hollie Fullbrook had her work cut out following Grand Salvo yet she succeeded in both complementing his style and delivering her own unique take on folk and a touch of the blues. Quiet, coy and unassuming when she spoke between songs she seemed to transform into someone else when she opened her mouth and sang her fantastical stories populated with quirky characters and some devastatingly turns of phrase. By giving an insight into the meanings and inspiration of some of her songs she created a magical world for the audience – an intimate insight into her creative mind. Priest With Balloons was gorgeous, Cat In The Hallways played on a simple premise with great skill and Adelphi Apartments made you feel like you were Fullbrook herself wandering the streets of Wellington observing the local characters. She works in her own unique time zone, drawing the audience into her slow, dreamy and captivating world. This was an exceptional performance from a new singer/songwriter who appears mature and fully formed only one album into her career.

this review was first published in The Drum Media.

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