The Gov, Thu 30thMay 2019
(Review by John Glennie)
EPIC, celebrated the new alongside the much loved; launching Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier’s tenth album, The Words Of Men & pairing it with 1993’s ARIA Award Winning, Gold selling record, Bitch Epic.
The Words Of Menis one of the most creative bursts in Conway & Zygier’s renowned 27 year collaboration. Traversing a wide range of themes against the backdrop of the strange circumstances we find ourselves in as the 21stcentury progresses, this album is a stunning addition to their already outstanding back catalogue.
Willy and Deborah walked on stage with their guitars, to cheers from the crowd, and were about to launch into the first track when the remaining three members came on behind them. That’s when the action started with opening song Fallen Star– an outstanding song. Even though it was probably my favourite for the night, there was no way anyone could say it was downhill after that! Far from it.
They really mixed the songs up perfectly with blues, rock, ballad, country-rock and R&B styles. Simon Starr played most of the first set on the double-bass – and to perfection, Daniel Farrugia was excellent on drums and percussion and Hue Blanes was absolutely brilliant on the keys. In many songs he was playing electronic keyboard with his left hand while playing the grand piano with his right! Then. Of course, he did a few tracks on the piano accordion.
Never having heard the new album I was enthralled with the versatility and mix: Imperfect Words(slower track), I Need To Complainwhich had a country feel about it, then There’s A War That’s Coming– with Deborah ditching the guitar for this beautiful ballad. Deborah introduced the next song Don’t You Forget Meas being all about “getting old and f#!@ed up!”. They followed that up with Yours With Disgustwhich had an almost haunting background – great track.
After a quicker number with Seaside Resortthey did another beautiful ballad Notes On 10 Plagueswith Willy donning the slide guitar. Final song for this set (ad the new album) was the blues-rock Not Much Sleeping To Be Hadwhich had a really catchy rhythm. I love this new album!!
After the interval Conway & Zygier performed Bitch Epicin its entirety to celebrate 25 years since its release. The set kicked off with the classis Alive & Brilliantwhich soon had people up on the dance floor! This was followed with I’m Not Satisfiedand Consider This– which Deborah said was the first song she and Willy wrote together (a little cruel as both had just dumped their previous partners!).
They worked their way through the album and Deborah’s voice is still as good, strong and exquisite as ever – I never tire of hearing it! This certainly is a classic album with great songs including She Prefers Fire,Today I Am A Daisy, Now That We’re Apart, Holes In The Road. Deborah introduced Madame Butterfly Is In Troubleas a song she wrote as a “tribute” after hearing one of Joni Mitchell’s classics (sorry – forgot the name of the song!). The final song for the set saw the band – including Willy – leave the stage for Deborah’s solo track DCN #348. Before launching into the song, she announced that their daughter Alma Zygier will be performing at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and “she has way more talent than both of us!” – now THIS I gotta see!!!!
After a bow and leaving the stage briefly, they did come back for what they termed a “very strange encore” – the theme to James Bond’s Goldfinger!
Overall this was an outstanding night of great music by a very tight and polished band – I certainly hope they come back again in the not-too-distant-future! My only disappointment was that the double-bass sounded way too bassy compared to the rest of the sound, which was perfect.