Josh Pyke @ The Memo (Healesville)

Regional tours always have a different vibe to your typical show, and the second show of Josh Pyke’s Lone Wolf regional tour was no different. Entering Healesville’s Memorial Hall (‘The Memo’), it certainly felt like the theatre had held many a school concert, and the gathering crowd looked to suit the space.

Walking out to the lonesome microphone and guitar, Jack Carty kicked off the evening with his stunning, wordy tracks. ‘Travelling Shoes’ was one that really got the room excited, but introducing new song ‘The Joneses’ as written with the headliner himself made everyone that little bit more excited. The upbeat track is super catchy and one that will stick in heads for a long time to come, and the input from each artist is obvious. What really stands out in Carty’s sets is his crisp singing and impressive vibrato, which can be so haunting- especially when covering Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Lack Of Colour’. The opener’s charisma almost rivals that of Pyke himself, setting the scene for the rest of the evening.

Adding a little more to the bare stage with three guitars, a banjo, stompbox and a looping pedal, the sold out room prepared itself. Appearing on stage, Josh Pyke immediately picked up his 12-string guitar and moved into ‘Bug Eyed Beauty’ utlising layers via the looping pedal and creating beautiful harmonies he is so well known for.

Pyke made his way through his set with a noticeable spark- spending a lot of time joking and bantering with the audience, but also had the room in an awed silence for the better part of the evening. This was quite strange for a Josh Pyke show, where typically hoards of young fans are singing every single word. This older crowd was more demure and, if possible, appreciative that a high-profile artist would come out to a regional theatre.

The only exception to this was the distinctive intro to ‘Middle Of The Hill’, which saw two older fans stand up in the seated venue and dance right through. There was a great array of tracks from all of Pyke’s releases, and it was interesting to see how the songs were developed for a solo live set.

Pyke was genuinely appreciative of positive comments from the crowd, even when he found them utterly hilarious; “Very nice song” to which he responded with a laugh and “that was very sincere, thankyou, but more importantly, do you like my shirt?” His most incredulous reaction, however, was to a male shouting for him to take off his pants.

Including a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ as preparation for his upcoming White Album tour, Pyke explained his fear of playing this one solo, so after finishing it in stunning fashion he exclaimed his excitement and was met with raucous applause.

The singer’s ability to create layers and build emotion is impressive, and the standout moment of this was certainly in ‘Order Has Abandoned Us’ where shivers shot down everyone’s spine during the apex. Prior to playing ‘Vibrations In The Air’, Pyke explained that he wasn’t going to do an encore. “You’ll still get the same number of songs, just without the drama,” but after an outcry from the audience agreed to go along with the drama, jokingly saying “well… this is the last song then.”

Upon it’s close the singer left the stage and while everyone applauded, calling for more, all of a sudden Pyke appeared on the other side of the stage, walked right across and returned via the curtain at the back. Needless to say the room found this an amusing addition to the show. Pyke is a seasoned performer, and this show was just more proof of this.

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