The Tea Party @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne (Sat 14 Jul 2012)
This was the first time I’d seen The Tea Party in almost a decade. They’ve always been a band that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with. I love all of their albums, but they’re always very hit and miss live. My most memorable Tea Party show as at The Glenworth Valley Festival in 1999, and that show was spectacular.
I remember seeing them in 1997 at Festival Hall in Brisbane, and that was just an ego driven wank-fest that put me off seeing them until Glenworth two years later.
Tonight, thankfully, was sensational.
Jeff Martin was his usual ego driven self, dressed in the trademark black leather, playing his guitar like his life depended on it, and only occasionally falling into the self indulgent wankery that has in the past shat me about seeing The Tea Party live.
Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows are stupidly talented musicians, as is Martin. The three of them on stage doing their thing is certainly a sight (and sound) to behold, even if you’re not a fan.
For a three-piece, they pull an incredible sound, and even though The Palais seemed an odd venue (Australia’s biggest seated theatre), it turned out to be quite an excellent choice.
The sound was sublime, and even though The Palais are generally noted for making patrons sit down, and have security constantly running around telling people to stop taking photos, tonight they didn’t attempt it. As soon as the band came out, Martin guestured for the audience to rise, and we did, and stayed that way.
They played all the hits one would expect from a Tea Party show, with a great selection from all of their albums. Ironically, my two favourite Tea Party albums (The Interzone Mantras and Tryptych) were released after I stopped making an effort to see them live, so tonight I got to hear a lot of my favourite Tea Party songs live for the first time.
Jeff Martin told us they were recording the night for a new live album too. I’m guessing they won’t use all of it, as there were a few flubs, and technical issues that would deem those songs unusable I’m guessing.
The highlights for the night for me were the final few songs of the main set, being Save Me, Heaven Coming Down and Release. I haven’t written about the Glenworth Valley show yet, even though it was 13 years ago, but at the gig I totally lost my shit during Release- it was an incredible rendition and tonight almost got there.
There was no shortage of Martin telling the audience how much the band now loved each other after their split, and that they were now back together, forever.
No doubt they’ll be touring again soon, and by the sounds of it, a new album isn’t far off.
All good news, I say!
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