Totally Biased Fan Review: John Flanagan String Band at Merri Creek Tavern, Northcote, Saturday 1st September


I finally got to see John Flanagan LIVE!  In an interesting move, the first half of the gig was dedicated to a favourite band of the String Band, Stray Birds which most people in the crowd hadn’t heard of, but they were good songs and each member of the band contributed in presenting a story about the now broken up band and their music. It was a unique tribute, considering that most tributes these days are to dead rock and country stars or megafamous bands that are too pricey to go and see.  Good music is good music and it doesn’t really matter about the fame level. Everyone in the band was in good form and played and sang with a high energy and joy level. Their passion for the music was obvious.

However, after a short break and some departures from the band, John started to sing the songs that we know and love from the songwriter that we know and love – himself. It was great to hear all the songs that I have been spinning on his cds. I would have loved to have heard a few more of his songs, but a night only lasts so long. The venue was sold out and we were all pretty jam packed into a small space but time went fast and my leg recovered after some quick stretches at intermission.  With standing room only, there was no room for air guitar, though I was tempted!  I only managed a few pics as it was hard to get a pic without someone’s head in the way. It was good to see that someone of John’s talent was able to have a sellout crowd on a busy Melbourne evening. The average age of the crowd was late twenties to thirties, which is great.  Together with John’s parents, I think that I was the oldest person in the room and I loved every minute of it.

John sounds as good LIVE as he does on record. The band were all cool, very polished and they were having so much fun. They were as crammed on the stage as we were in the room but it didn’t really worry anybody that much.

The folky, bluesy, easy stylings of the band made for a very relaxing Saturday night. I had been waiting for a long time to see this mob in the flesh and I wasn’t let down a bit. All the songs were great, we all left wanting more and rest assured, the next time that I see a gig on in my vicinity, I will be going to it.

Thanks for the music, the stories and the laughs. It was a cool night.



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