Thursday 17th April 2014 – Pics by Ben Knight / Article by Cat Anderson
So it turns out that the Thursday before Easter is called Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday or even Thursday of Mysteries. I don’t know that the atmosphere could be called holy, and there was no mystery why everyone was gathered in the beergarden of the Jubilee Hotel (aka the Jube)… Darren Middleton.
Since winding up things with “a little Brisbane band called Powderfinger” (his words), he’s taken a while to get back into performing, doing stints presenting on a TV travel show and writing scores for television and short films, among other things. However, after putting out his record ‘Translations’ late last year, he’s back on the road.
Tonight’s show, the 5th of the tour, sees just Middleton on stage with his guitar and effects pedals. After a couple of solo tracks to begin with, he is joined by the talented Kelly Lane on violin, keys and backing vocals, which provide a layer of richness to the songs.
They perform a great mix of tunes, ranging from an instrumental track Middleton wrote for a short film called Grey Bull, songs from his side project to Powderfinger, Drag, and a couple of well-chosen covers and a brand new song. It remains a matter of some debate as to whether performing Powderfinger songs he actually wrote count as cover versions.
The crowd is mellow and appreciative, although at one point a random audience member got a bit too appreciative, invading the stage during the Powderfinger tune ‘JC’. Middleton is a laid back bloke though, and appeared unfazed. In fact, not even momentarily forgetting the words at one point could throw him.
We catch up with Middleton for a quick chat and some snaps after the show. He’s as friendly and as laid back as his stage banter suggests (not all musos are), and happy to give us the lowdown on life in Melbourne (more venues and opportunities, and also more bands and more competition) and what he’s been up to lately.
After telling us it’s taken about 2.5 years to feel settled in his new home town, Middleton is clearly enjoying the film and TV scoring he’s been doing, where he says he still has to prove himself. He’s recently scored a 13 episode TV series for ABC3 after being invited to write the theme tune.
He tells us that it changes the way he writes music, as the narrative of the program (or film) presents lots of different triggers than songwriting. He also tells us that it’s fun. And really, isn’t that what your life’s calling should be?