A Sunday Afternoon with David Craft Band

– by Ivy Monique

David Craft, Sunday 12 October, Fremantle Arts Centre

It was a lovely afternoon. The large and overgrown trees provided shade while sunshine streamed through the in betweens of its leaves. Much like the ambience of the Fremantle Arts Centre front garden, the audience was treated to the light and shade of David’s craft.

Introduced by Jeff’s Dead front man Jeff Strong as the best thing to come out of Fremantle, Perth and soon Australia, David Craft crooned away my Sunday afternoon with songs from his latest record Smoky lungs and Dirty Puns and a cover of Sam Cooke’s Change Is Gonna Come.

The clock struck two and the crowd started milling in. Families chose their spots in the garden with careful precision. White and orange plastic chairs were plonked in front and around the stage while for others blankets were laid out on the grass. Out came the packed sandwiches, cooler bags filled to the brim with cider and beer and the odd crossword puzzle. I have never seen that many babies and older folk at a gig. The venue was brimming with a sense of community. That’s the beauty of music isn’t it? It has this profound ability to bring people together to share the good times.

Left hand strumming his guitar, I was mesmerised by the brutally honest, dark and twisted lyrics of Human Stain that tells a story of yearning and self-destruction – “I drink and drink till I expire” and chants of “It makes me want to kill myself”. It is obvious that music is his form of medication. Shades of sadness, anger and pain are portrayed through his demeanor and lyrics.

Mid set, David introduced his band members to the audience. Introducing his guitarist and back-up singer, David graciously said to laughs, “And we have Andrew Williams on the guitar. Such a handsome and sexy man. Just look at him.” I couldn’t help but agree. What with his slick hairdo, beard and dark denim country swag, I could see David’s point. Evidently, the man has good taste.

There is a sort of tranquility and melancholy in his voice that really requires a dark and intimate setting for full impact. His deep and gruff voice curling over the lyrics sometimes got swallowed in the open space. I wanted to get more lost in his stories. I couldn’t help but think how different his performance would have been under the moon with twinkling light bulbs or in a tighter and more intimate setting.

Nevertheless, every song got a smattering round of applause from the public. Even the barefoot and wandering toddlers stopped in their tracks to put their hands together for him and his band at the end of each song. It was also quite entertaining to watch the oldies sashaying and boogying to the music, with a vibrantly pink haired lady as their ringleader.

One of my favourite songs from the album is Sell My Songs and it was rather ironic to see David craftily do just that at the end of his set.

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