Tonight brings a rare outing for Rach and I. Our good friend, and awesomely talented musician, Clay Bolger is doing a Fringe Word Festival gig with his band, The Wesley Goodlet Jamboree Scouts: who are bringing us an entire show devoted to covers of one hit wonders. I love covers! I love one hit wonders! (… sometimes, mostly …) It’s too good a chance to miss.
I get the usual anxiety about going out, which manifests itself in a thumping headache late in the afternoon. I leave work early in the hope I can rest for a while. I indeed rest briefly, and refuse to let the headache defeat me. Rach is still ailing from a migraine, and refusing to let that defeat her, so obviously I’m pretty impressed with my brave stoicism in the face of this massive adversity.
First stop is V Burger, which I’ve yet to sample. En route we determine that this is the first proper, child-free, night out we’ve had since going to see Garbage last November. We agree that we should do this sort of thing much more often.
At V Burger I’m somewhat dazzled by the choice. I’m not overwhelmingly hungry, and don’t want to spend the rest of night feeling like I’ve eaten a small child. Or maybe Rach’s vegetarianism is proving mildly infectious. I opt for the Teriyaki Chicken (grilled chicken breast, teriyaki glaze, caramelised onion, lettuce, tomato, house aioli & wasabi mayo) – admittedly with some caution, as I’ve yet to have a chicken breast burger that didn’t feel like I was eating a huge chunk of dried out meat between two slices of damp bread.
It turns out to be amazing. The chicken is juicy and tender, and the combination of flavours is a revelation. It’s an easy contender for the Best Burger I’ve Ever Eaten.
Luckily, the Victoria Park Hotel turns out to be a longer walk from V Burger than we had expected. Lucky because it gives our food plenty of time to go down. Yes. So lucky. Really. Lucky. I could be so.
We get to the venue, look around, see lots of people, but we don’t see anything that looks remotely like the Wesley Goodlet Jamboree Scouts preparing to perform an awesome night of one-hit wonders. Just … lots of people. People drinking. People chatting. People eating. We start to genuinely wonder if we’ve managed to go to the wrong Victoria Park Hotel. I even check the Facebook page. It says “Victoria Park Hotel” (among many, many other words). Then I spot a single A4 poster on a stand, next to a staircase. It’s a flyer for the gig! We’re in the right place after all.
We make our way up the stairs and quickly find Clay’s equally awesome wife, Rhona. It’s pointed out to me that The Safety Dance was playing as I entered the room; the song and I have a sort of history, so I guess this means I’ve finally figured out how to make an entrance the way they do in the movies.
I was half expecting a tiny, crowded venue – the sort of place where I would need to find a quiet corner to hide out in, but there’s not only plenty of space, there’s even a comfy leather couch at the back of the room. We quickly claim it, because we’re now the sort of people who require a comfy leather couch in order to properly enjoy a live music event.
The Wesley’s play gigs around Perth almost every weekend, but occasionally they do special one-off shows. I’ve been to see them perform David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album for the Newport Tavern’s Record Club Roadshow, as well as Bowie’s Hunky Dory. Both gigs comfortably rank among the best live shows I’ve ever been to. It’s safe to say I’m pretty excited, and they don’t disappoint: kicking off with a medley, getting in one-hit wonders from across the decades and genres, and even throwing in a bit of trivia here and there. I’m equally awed by the way Clay and the rest of band work the crowd. As someone who literally prefers to hide at the back of the room, it’s inspiring to bask in a bit of expert showmanship.
The gig is over all too soon, and we retreat to the balcony, which is about a thousand degrees more refreshing than the inside. After enjoying the breeze, and catching up for a bit with Clay and Rhona, it’s time to head home and let Beryl, Rach’s Nan and our babysitter, get to bed.
It’s been a good night. I’m glad I ignored that headache after all.