‘This next song is my favourite…’

I hadn’t seen the Mavis’s since their excellent show at the John Curtain Hotel in 2014, so I was excited to see them again, but as showtime drew closer and the stage remained bare, I started to get nervous.

The Mavis’s, with Ben Ely and The Bambi Kills,
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, January 5, 2018…

Although even after his set, some in attendance were still unsure of who Ben Ely was, there was enough vocal reminiscing about shows of the past being shared amongst the dense audience at the front of the stage that they surely cottoned on soon enough. Meanwhile, lights were being tested, and there was still nothing on stage. No instruments beyond a couple of microphones and a keyboard. A couple of years ago I had tickets to a budget show, billed as ‘The Mavis’s Matt and Beki,’ which had unfortunately been cancelled on the evening of the show. Would this be the make-up show for that? I’d come out looking forward to a full band show!

BekiMavissJan2018Lights flashed onto the previously blank screen before, and my concerns were addressed: Beki and Matt entered the stage alone to a surprising youthful applause from the middle aged audience, Matt carrying an acoustic guitar and Beki heading straight for the keyboard. Someone at the side of stage passed up a couple of electric guitars up to Matt who arranged them on a stand whilst Beki greeted the audience enthusiastically, though somehow, despite years of performance, seeming a little like a self conscious schoolgirl.

Despite the lack of the full band, the duo managed to create a vibrant show, before projections of geniune video content, not unlike those they danced before in some of their video clips. Beki was charming, introducing almost every song as ‘her favourite,’ leaving Matt struggling for comment after reminding her she’d already named her favourite. Playing over a combination of backing tracks, loops created live, and an electronic drums that Matt somehow managed to play with sticks he made materialise between guitar chords, the sound was a full one that had more than a few of the old attendees dancing like they were at a full band’s rock show.

BekiMattMavissJan2018

I’d been quick to judge the duo. Whilst it was less exciting to watch than previous full-band Mavis’s show, the songs were played well and with enough enthusiasm to pass into the audience and leave me heading to the open after-party a sweaty mess (though perhaps not as much as Matt himself:)

DannMattMavissJan2018

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