The build up was intense. The anticipation was high. Not only was there cracking great Australian live music on offer but Friday April 29 was Greg Cooley’s 55th birthday (I still don’t believe that. Surely 45ish…?).
This was no ordinary show. It was the very last show for Greg Cooley Wines at their Main North Road address. A place where many great shows have been held and hosted hundreds of musicians. All planned and put together by the crazy duo simply known as; Greg & Kel. These two have big dreams and thankfully, they pull them off with what seems like very little effort.
The entertainment for this show? Harry Hookey, Ciaram Granger and, Mane. Three amazingly talented musicians in their own right who also collaborate extremely well. I can see an EP there, guys! Just saying…
The crowd was at full capacity at an early hour and it didn’t take long before the atmosphere was electric.
Despite holding his own and headlining many of his own shows, (the next being Brewhouse Blues at Pikes in a fortnight), Ciaram Granger opened the show and I know a lot of you would probably draw parallels between him and Xavier Rudd but for me I likened him to another Aussie whose sound I was introduced to several years ago, Dave Cooke. Ciaram has carved his own path and earned his own respect though, no doubt about that.
Based out of Adelaide, this isn’t Ciaram’s first Greg Cooley Wines rodeo, it’s a scene he’s very familiar with and definitely has a large Clare Valley following, me included. His aura is alluring. His music is captivating. And it gets you moving in your seat when all you really want do is stand up the back and get your groove on. When the musician is that good, there is no room for dancing down the front, everyone deserves a great view!
Mane was next, an act I have not seen before. Formerly, Paige Renae Court, but due to a steep climb in popularity and exposure from a little thing known as, Triple J unearthed, a stage name has been created. A rather clever one it would seem and it’s so new it still gets her stage colleagues tongue-tied. Paige…Mmm…Pai…Mane!
Also hailing from Adelaide, Mane’s style is indie folk, roots & blues. Don’t be fooled by this young lady’s petite stature, she can belt out a note as good as Kate Ceberano or, Adele, and holds the audience captive as she ebbs and weaves through the delicate notes of the beautiful lyrics she has penned herself.
I love it when the musician is clearly into what they are performing. Eyes wide shut as they feel every note and soak up the energy in the room. Mane is for sure a musician you won’t forget in a hurry and despite not having heard her music before, I personally loved the originals but the couple of covers she stamped with her own Mane were equally as great!
And then came Harry Hookey. The boy from Gippsland who has also become a firm Clare Valley favourite thanks to Greg Cooley Wines.
There’s two Harry’s actually. There’s the cheeky young lad who giggles as he addresses the crowd and laughs at the hecklers giving the impression he’d much rather be down amongst it, just for a little while. And then there’s the talented musician whose on-stage energy is infectious and he works the crowd beautifully. The Bob Dylan similarities were obvious. The harmonica, the story telling. But it’s clear Harry has enjoyed many different musical influences and has carved out his own style throughout his journey to date, giving a fresh new feel to a sound that was born from a generation of boomers who wore flowers in their hair and smoked a little weed.
Even though Hookey’s talent Is clear, his comfort for being on stage by himself didn’t last long, inviting Mane back to sing a duo with him twice before getting Ciaram and drummer, Shannon, back on stage for one hell of a closing collab.
Crowd on their feet & table dancing sure is one hell of way to end the parties of all parties. Happy birthday, Greg!
And as quick as it started it came to an end. The show that is and yes, Greg Cooley Wines is on the move. Where to? We’re not sure right now but one thing we do know is, Greg & Kel will be back and they will still bring amazing music to the Clare Valley. Never fear, that 55-year-old brain is ticking over like a teenager’s thinking about the future and how he can reinvigorate the Clare Valley entertainment scene. And for that, Greg Cooley, we salute you!
So before they embark on some interstate commitments, we’ll see Greg & Kel at The Hub in a fortnight for the Clare Valley Gourmet weekend (at the Tourism Centre), so if you missed them last night, go and see them there and say g’day.
For now though, I’ll give the last word to Greg Cooley Wines…..