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Published September 5th 2011
Brisbane singer songwriter Ben Salter has a new lineup: Dale Peachy on keyboard, Melissa Fraser on bass and Sam Schlencker on drums to launch his new album The Cat. The Wheatsheaf is packed tonight but not out the back, only about 40-50 people sat down to listen to Ben Salter belt out his new tunes and that's a shame, the others missed a pretty good gig.
Salter ran through a few old songs like The Coward originally named yellow but shelved with the success of Coldplay's song of the same name knowing it would be swallowed whole by the behemoth that became Yellow. So his instincts are good.
Opportunities, a song about touring with The Wilson Pickets and making new friends, has a quirky upbeat vibe, an ode to his new drinking buddy. Empty Mail Box, written when Salter was an undergrad, is still relevant today, a great song depicting the banality of life and endless crap that ends up in our mailboxes. But it's more a comment on the incessant wait for the future to kick-in while sifting thru the debris of life.
Salter whips out his acoustic guitar for German Tourist, a lovely tune with no vocals produced by Garrett of The Drones. A melodic, tricky number, just when you think you know the tune it veers in another direction, played well by Salter.
The band joined him for Westend Girls, Don't Know Your Own Strength followed quickly by new songs off The Cat album, I'm Not Ashamed, Things Fall Apart and I'm So Tired - all good songs played well by the band. At one stage the rain set in belting down on the galvanized roof aptly suiting Salter's raspy vocals, adding an organic rhythm to the songs.
Bassist Mel Fraser is a singer songwriter in her own right and blends well with newcomer Schlencker on drums. It's his second gig with Salter and Peachy on keyboard and guitar who's been with Salter since June. They probably treated this gig as a rehearsal, learning to play together while having fun. No pressure, and it showed. As rehearsals go, this was a good one.
Check out The Wheaty's website for coming attractions. The Wheatsheaf Hotel 39 George St Thebarton www.wheatsheaf.com.au