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THE LAST SWIM: smart-arse songs for minds that move - Ronnie Taheny

Saturday 3 February 2018, 8pm

The Governor Hindmarsh (Thebarton)

Hosted by Arty Records

Whilst there was a tinge of sadness as Adelaide chanteuse Ronnie Taheny calls it a day with regular live touring, the evening of Saturday 3 February 2018 at The Governor Hindmarsh was abuzz. The crowd ambled in to ‘The Last Swim’ to find a cabaret style seating arrangement that lends itself to the sharing of a bottle of fragrant South Aussie wine around a table of friends; an atmosphere synonymous with a Ronnie Taheny show.

 The gentle hum of the room steadily grew to a vibrant rumble as dedicated fans packed out the back room of The Gov. It felt much like a heightened family get-together as people waved to friends from across the room, frequent hugs were exchanged, and the sound of a delighted vocal elation at seeing a familiar face in the crowd.  

 Opening the evening was singer/songwriter newcomer Zac Eden who instantly caught the attention of the audience with his unique style of acoustic progressive folk.  Zac Eden’s songs are laden with quirky melodies and catchy rhythmic beats. If I had to compare his voice it reminded me of a Jim Morrison-esque richness coupled with the soulful warmth of Tim Buckley. Although extremely competent at playing solo his songs lend themselves to a full production. So, I look forward to seeing him next time with a band that will enhance his already strong songs. 

 During the time between Zac Eden and Ronnie Taheny I took some time to look more closely at the stage design. It was with a momentary giggle that I recalled sitting at Ronnie’s beach side apartment a few weeks back (Adelaide: You Have A Gem, an interview with Ronnie Taheny). Strung up behind the drums, two keyboards, and guitar amps were a collection of her bikinis, sarongs, and a surf board. She was serious when she said that she lives and breathes the beach, they’re inseparable!  

As soon as Ronnie stepped onto the stage she dazzled. You could feel the collective love in the room that was filled with twenty-five years’ worth of loyal fans. Wearing her guitar she stands solo to thrash out her opener Moving Door from her 1999 album ‘Briefcase’. She then hops to the keyboard to deliver Aida from her 1996 album ‘Valentine’s Prey’. Ronnie channels a full gospel throttle in delivering the soulful Pardon From Paris from her 2016 ‘Start’ album that entices the audience to keep up in a unanimous rhythmic hand clap. Promptly switching back to guitar for ‘Black n Blind’ from her 2002 album ‘Stage Fright’ Ronnie shows how a seasoned performer successfully balances the dynamics of gentle to controlled outrageousness. This continues with Princess and the Frog, and the mesmerising Photograph a personal highlight of the evening.  The heartstrings continue to pull during the emotional Irish Girls Wake inspired by the desperate women who died when they were forced to leave Ireland to get an abortion. Brightening the mood she delivers her ever popular spoken word doozy A Darcy Before I Die a poem about Jane Austin’s romantic archetype figure the dithering, daring, dashing Mister Darcy.

Ronnie’s husky voice is soothing, her guitar and keyboard playing is exceptional, and her energy is infectious.  Interestingly, throughout the evening she interweaves a nostalgic list of popular news items that coincided with her song writing and eight album releases.

Before ending the first set she performs Cinderella and invites members of her family onstage who are dynamic with captivating harmonies on Versailles from her album ‘Stage Fright’.  

 Set two had a very different feel with the immensely talented Jarrad Payne (drums/vocal), Flik Freeman (bass/vocal), and Lainie Jamieson (keyboards/vocal) joining Ronnie on stage for her energetic final set. Starting with the upbeat bluesy tune Bite Back at You, followed by The List, That’s Jesus, Irana’s Lullaby, and Toyland. The energy builds for her final few songs as Ronnie howls for the moon in her song La Lune from her 2005 release ‘Decalogue’, and pops-out during her pop anthem Babel finishing with Go, both from her latest release ‘Start’.

Farewell Ronnie, you are a sparkling Adelaide gem! 

But it does beg the question: when’s the comeback tour Ronnie? We’re eagerly waiting…

Social Links:

Watch a two-minute reflection of Ronnie’s global travels HERE

Images: Rowena Garcia, Zac Eden Facebook page, Janine Hartwig


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