Peter Bibby’s Dog Act @ Barbes
w/ Sweet Treasures, Myriad Sun
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Peter Bibby is truly a homegrown hero and he put on a great show for punters on Thursday night, proving why he’s one of this country’s greatest singer-songwriters as he covered his latest album Marge.
Opening for Bibby were two broadly different acts. First up was Sweet Treasures, a country-tinged folk rock outfit that adds violin on top of the standard two guitar/bass/drums set up. The excellent violin playing and twin harmonies were a treat, especially when accompanied by some great songwriting that recalled the more countrified material from Fleetwood Mac. The band had a wide stylistic range, switching from upbeat rockers to sadder, more dirgy tunes.
Following on was Myriad Sun, an act this reviewer certainly wasn’t expecting. This was an industrial hip-hop act whose raucous and atonal approach recalls Death Grips, or clipping’s more recent material. Producer and MC were both decked out in makeshift hazmat suits and the abrasive material certainly suited the look. The nihilistic lyrics were as much shouted as rapped, and the production samples were a numbing series of shining synths lines laid atop skittering breakbeats.
When Peter Bibby’s Dog Act came on, the rationale behind the two opening acts became more apparent. They meshed soft and heavy, and so did Bibby in the set that followed. While still rooted in songs that are, at their heart, folk rock numbers, Bibby has gone a lot heavier on his latest album Marge (see our review here), and these songs were even heavier live. His backing bag, The Dog Act, had both bark and bite this evening.
Bibby played Marge in its entirety, with a three-song interlude of older material between the A and B sides. And he played hard. Opener It’s Too Easy got the slow treatment before Bibby ripped into one of Marge’s highlights with the harrowing Oceans. Bibby’s monstrously distorted guitar and the overwhelming bass attack truly rattled the walls. Instrumental Poppin’ Dookies came off like a surf rock tune with half the finesse and twice the fury. This frenetic pace was upheld in later cuts like Undereducated and Stressed, which felt closer to crusty hardcore punk than folk rock. During the transition Bibby also delivered a bonkers rendition of old classic Friends that had more than few missed notes but rode by on sheer energy.
It was on the big cuts that Bibby shone the brightest though. Whyalla is a highlight from Marge, with its rattling Black Sabbath-esque riffs and slice-of-life lyrics. Bibby delivered a sterling rendition here. His monologue about some of Whyalla’s characters was excellent, and it segued into some amusing banter about the year that was.
Classic Hates My Boozin made an appearance and got the crowd up and about, and side B epics Batteries and Your Mum likewise had excellent renditions. But it was on the two closing numbers where the band truly made use of dynamics, with Craigieburn taking its time and making use of empty space as the band built up the tension and then released a shower of drone and feedback. Calcium was a worthy closer, a slower track that saw the band take a cleaner and more measured approach to one of their best written tunes.
Overall this was a great night for local music, with two excellent opening acts and a rough and rowdy run-through of one of this year’s best local albums courtesy of Mr. Bibby. The man can do no wrong, and after tonight has proven himself as not only an master singer-songwriter but a mean rocker as well.
Photos by Adrian Thomson