Legendary Australian guitarist, Ross Hannaford, left his favourite busking spot to perform a Fringe gig on Friday night.
The wonderful Semaphore Workers’ Club was packed to its pressed-metal roof with baby-boomers and Gen Xers who seemed to be expecting a one-man Daddy Cool show. Quite a few left at half-time when they realised it wasn’t going to happen.
Hannaford is a highly skilled, jobbing guitarist and song-writer who has happily been busking in Melbourne over the last few years. This showed in his ability to self-record a loop, and play over it, along with his laid-back, unfazed style. Other than Cherry Pie however, there were no throw-backs.
Much of the repertoire was songs that he has written either solely or with his wife Lorraine, who was in the audience. Musically, these songs are great but I must confess to finding them lyrically, quite twee. Possibly they are written as “busking” numbers, but I was hoping for something a bit more sophisticated. I did enjoy his poem about busking though… I could see that becoming a humorous song.
There is no doubting Hannaford’s musicianship though. He is a man who has reached a certain stage in life where he is confident, relaxed, and unconcerned about appearances, and that is a delight to watch. His quirky style, humour and ability to get up and have a fun all added to a great night of guitar virtuosity.
Previously, I’ve only seen Hannaford, as most people would, supporting acts such as Renee Geyer. It was fantastic to see him as a solo performer and to hear more of his funky, very bass-driven guitar work, and hear that unmistakeable, basso profundo voice, which can also hit a falsetto.
He was, is and always will be, a national treasure.
Next time I’m in Melbourne, I must seek out his busking spot and throw a few shekels his way.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Rating out of 5: 4
Venue: Semaphore Workers’ Club, 93 Esplanade, Semaphore
Season: 13 March 2015 only
Duration: 3 hours