Grand Salvo played the Front Gallery and Café on 30 November 2008, along with Oliver Mann.
It was late Sunday afternoon and Birds Love Fighting had been setting up the Mics and had the Barbie warmed up with meat and vegetables to eat – on bread. The cider was cold, the coffee nicely warm, and a very tiny crowd had settled in to hear first up, Oliver Mann, followed by Grand Salvo.
The last time Grand Salvo played in Canberra it was with Laura Jean, who commands a relatively large Canberra following, so this afternoon was a very different affair. Where the Front had been previously packed for Laura Jean’s last two visits to Canberra, only a few came in for Grand Salvo, and so that meant that many in Canberra missed an intimate and satisfying afternoon.
With this tour Oliver Mann launched his latest album, The Possum Wakes at Night. And this afternoon, he with his powerful vocals, along with band member Monica Sonand, took the small audience – unfortunately more people outside than in - through songs that belied the sometimes comic content of his lyrics.
Grand Salvo followed with mournful folk music, opening with Bear, from the album Death, and you could see a few teary eyes in the crowd. Their music, awash with beautiful forlorn lyrics, would have been out of place on the warm Sunday afternoon, except the melody and quiet voice that held the tiny crowd spell bound.
One note of caution: do not approach the Grand Salvo lead and ask him to sign your cd, nor tell him about any kind of emotional response his songs may trigger within you, unless you want to be treated poorly. If you like that kind of stuff go ahead - you will be in for a treat. Or like me, when you realise it may be some kind of lame defence mechanism, you can hang around and talk to him more and make him feel uncomfortable about being an arse.
P.S. Oliver Mann is really nice, talk to him, if you like nice people.