It's the last show of the a month of sunday residency with a retrospective of Kim Salmon's music journey at The Old Bar. In the past we have seen Kim play with the Scientists, The Surrealists, some Salmon, bits of Business, a stab of The Beasts Of Bourbon, Precious Jules and solo. Tonight while a very dapper Kim is tuning a banjo, before the show begins, another gentleman comes on stage. It's Ron Peno of Died Pretty fame. It looks like tonight will be an epic night, with The Darling Downs performing.
Watching a Darling Downs gig is a deeply spiritual and sometimes surreal experience. It feels as though there is a whole band playing on stage, but there's just the besuited duo: Kim Salmon on acoustic guitar or banjo and Ron Peno on vocals.
Salmon strums and picks with great fervour, nodding to an imaginary beat. Peno dances as though a choir of angels is serenading him. With his eyes closed and arms aloft, pastoral guitar notes seem to send him into a trance, prompting him to sing about whatever moves him the instant it comes out of his mouth, like a melismatic singer who sings spontaneously with sounds rather than words.
While it appears as though Peno uses his flailing arms to almost will the words out of himself. Salmon concentrates, closely watching Peno's eyes and body language for signals. It is sight to behold and the crowd are at times, truly mesmerised.
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