Do you remember your first live concert? The overwhelming anticipation as you waited for entry? Or the nerves that overtook your stomach as you queued up outside in the cold among friends? The realisation that an artist was coming to life, outside of a realm of television screens, radio speakers, or posters hung in admiration throughout your bedroom was practically electric. These people were real, living, breathing and you were about to witness them perform the songs which you devotedly recited in the lead up to this very moment.
Simon Burke Drummer/Songwriter For Lost Ragas shares his favourite venues, the first gigs he attended and what artist living or dead he would love to sit down with…
What would you say your three biggest inspirations are that have affected your live performance?
I love performances and performers that leave space and let the music do the work – Bands that create tension and space by holding back. Much of the music I listened to growing up was southern soul music, which masters this power versus space thing I’m trying to get at. (Otis Redding, Percy Sledge,Al Green)
If you could sit down with any musician living or dead who would it be and why?
Dan Penn and Chips Moman wrote some of my favourite songs, so I wouldn’t mind a chat with both of those guys on writing songs including how they cooked up this gem!
What is your favourite venue to perform at?
I’ve been fortunate to play at many amazing venues over the years, but I think perhaps the Palais Theatre in Melbourne seeing as I grew up in the area, and it’s such an iconic and beautiful space.
If you could trade places with any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
I don’t know about trading places, but I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the recording of Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” record and in the audience for Donny Hathaway’s “Live” recording.
Who is the best act you have seen live?
Most energetic – Bruce Springsteen at hanging rock. He scared the hell out of me!
Most consistently mind blowing – Diana Kiss (Local Melbourne band no longer playing led by Ross Hannaford).
If you were to construct an ultimate line up for a gig who would be in it?
Let’s call this a festival line-up and name it “The living and the dead festival”. The Band, Otis Redding, Al Green, Johnny Cash, Wilco, Amy Winehouse, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley. I could go on…
What do you think makes for a good live performance?
A band that sounds as good as or better than the record – not common enough, unfortunately.
Describe your sound in 10 words or less?
Best to leave this to Chris Familton from “The Music”. “It’s like Sturgill Simpson and Beck jamming with the ghost of Harry Nilsson”
What was the first gig you attended?
(Gulp) – Dire straits “Brothers in arms” tour for my 11th birthday
What’s your pre-gig ritual?
There are many poetic things I could say, but the reality is, it’s devouring a chicken parma.
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