ACT OF FREE CHOICE
Act of Free Choice - David Bridie, Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane
Leave the audience spellbound? Piece of cake!
After 16 years making music in various guises, David Bridie suddenly
finds himself flavour of the month, his name spoken in reverential
tones by those in the know. There is not so much a buzz as a hum surrounding
the Melbournian singer songwriter-producer whose solo debut album
Act of Free Choice is being acclaimed as a masterpiece. Translating
its delicately sculptured sound scapes to the stage was always going
to be a challenge. But Bridie has gone one step further; creating
an intoxicating sensory experience that transcends music. To call
it a concert hardly seems adequate.
For 90 minutes the 500 people present at Brisbane's lush but underused
Tivoli Theatre for the opening show of his national tour were transported.
The lighting alone was a work of art. Bridie has distilled his experience
as a performer, producer and soundtrack composer into a cinematic
package, the visual sensibilities gained from his film work adding
another dimension to both his studio and stage work.
Film had a strong presence in the performance, with Bridie and his
band silhouetted extras for much of the show as images by young auteurs
were projected onto the backdrop. The presence of a solitary dancer
in the aisle throughout the sit-down affair almost seemed choreographed.
Bridie describes his music as organica, a stripped back electronica
that shares some common ground with Endorphin and Moby, without venturing
into the well- trodden territory of dance, trance and trip hop. Near
darkness greeted the foreboding opener Sad, which rose seamlessly
into the insistent Dive and descended again into Breath followed by
the album's first "hit" The Koran, The Ghan and a Yarn which
is more an indicator of the album's quality than a standout single
in the traditional sense.
The three piece backing band, supplemented by sequencers and surround
sound added a robustness to the arrangements on the album. The subtlety
of guitarist, Phil Wales and drummer, Michael Barker was a highlight.
Only The Koran seemed slightly hurried.
Midway through the set Bridie played Dare Not Say a Word from his
band Not Drowning Waving, which evoked memories of all the "shithouse
venues" he had played to get here. He also reprised a track from
his days in the pop act My Friend The Chocolate Cake, which he hinted
were not yet over.
He finally stepped from the shadows for the rumbling Float, which
was followed by The Deserters, a short haunting song that drew the
biggest reaction from the spellbound crowd. Kerosene, which he dedicated
to Bronwyn Bishop and Salt (I Don't Want to Go No Further) were other
The mournful Last Great Magician was the highlight of a somber encore
which left many in a dazed state of bliss as they drifted out of the
The world is ready for you now, Mr. Bridie.
The Australian - Monday 26th June, Artsbeat Music