Josh Pyke‘s set at the Jägermeister Hunting Lodge started off humbly enough with a simple, “How you doin?” Thankfully not channeling Joey Tribbiani but rather checking on everyone, he would be joined by Russell Crawford on bass for “Clovis’ Son”. The opening track to his recent album, Only Sparrows, it was inspired by an artwork that proved an interesting choice given our picturesque surrounds. The Lodge comes complete with deer trophy, antler light fixtures, faux fireplace, clocks and portraits of vagabonds. Similarly quaint, Pyke’s silky vocals were coupled with whistles, making the song sound as refreshing as the breeze coming off the ocean.

Josh Schuberth would join the pair during “The Summer” at the drums, where he would remain for the remainder of the proceedings. This was a number full of wistful nostalgia for bygone memories and perhaps even the weather from previous seasons, given tonight was less about a balmy evening in Sydney and instead one filled with rain and clouds as grey as Pyke’s shirt. We were told that the group were pressed for time with only a 45 minute set so there’d be no regaling us with amusing anecdotes, as the boys instead opted to cram in as much as possible.

“No One Wants A Lover” received lots of positive recognition as the crowd bopped, clapped and swayed their way through the self-described, “Eagles and West Coast rhythms”. This tag could also be used to describe lots of Pyke’s works, even the more subdued and atmospheric numbers like: “Goldmines,” “The Lighthouse Song” and “Candle In Your Window”.

“The World Is A Picture” borrows things from great writers like William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac as we were instructed to pull the world apart and put it back together. If tonight’s song had been a picture there’s no doubt it would’ve contained a lush scene full of verdant green. There’d also be youthful optimism and exuberance, much like a kite dying to soar in the sky but with enough smarts not to fly up too high and therefore fail to see the wood from the trees.

The sunny pop tunes continued into “Make You Happy” before Pyke admitted he had to go to a buck’s party and weighed up the possibility of getting in some stripping practice. He didn’t with the stripped-back performance proving more than enough and instead he opted for the existential “Memories & Dust”. Some silly banter followed about a couple that may have been on their first date or concerning a girl who may have been a liar. Admittedly, Pyke dug himself into a hole but did redeem things with “Sew My Name,” another beautiful song about a girl that is loved by a sweet boy.

The set concluded with “Forever Song” and “Middle Of The Hill,” the latter a favourite that proved a relatable tale about growing up in Sydney. Pyke said feel free to clap along, not that we needed much cajoling. We’d certainly enjoyed his entertaining, gorgeous and pleasant folk/pop songs about love.

Soon the night’s programming was in for a rather different turn. Spenda C kicked off his DJ set with Gotye’s “I Feel Better”. There were some enthusiastic bunches of people enjoying themselves and dancing up a storm to a set that included retro favourites by Stevie Wonder (“Superstition” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”) and The Jackson 5’s “ABC” plus The Strokes’ excellent, “Last Night”.

In person and behind the decks Nick Zinner seemed shorter than I remembered. The last time I saw him was at the Hordern Pavilion with his black hair slicked up high. With his fine guitar playing and rock star talent, let’s just say I put him on one almighty pedestal- swoon! Still, tonight he affected cool in head-to-toe black playing plenty of beats alongside remixes of “Tainted Love” (which played more like a swinging jam) and “Stayin’ Alive,” a fine sweetener for the patriotic people among us.

His tunes left me wondering whether these sounds would find their way onto or at least influence in part, the newest Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ record. After all, he had told at least one fan that the band is commencing work on the LP next month. His bracket finished with some photos taken of the crowd as they lapped up the last of his music. With the set over, Zinner took the time to speak to some fans and was an all-round nice guy. Heck, he even made one fan’s night be giving her a hug. So it goes without saying, Nick we should do this again sometime!

Originally published on 15 January 2012 at the following website:ägermeister-hunting-lodge-15-01-2012

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