Live at the Espy – (Rondor Music)
Things of Stone and Wood raised their heads into Australian musical mainstream during 1992/93 with a hit that resonates today for its passion, honesty and beauty.
Happy Birthday Helen, penned by about the woman lead singer Greg Arnold is still with today, is a landmark song. The kind many a band hopes to produce. It certainly helped raise Things of Stone and Wood to some deserved commercial attention. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the band have headed out to tour again, and re-released a well worthwhile recording of a set played at Melbourne’s Esplanade Hotel back on 23 December, 1995.
Simply called Live at the Espy, this anniversary edition works amazingly well as a time capsule, transporting you back into a specific point in the band’s life. There is a freshness to the energy, and a polish to the sound. This is clearly an outfit who shine in the live format, with the arrangements executed with deftness and precision. It is awe inspiring to sit back and soak in Arnold’s guitar as it simmers and flows, while Justin Brady’s often present violin and harmonica sweep through the set, vital components to the band’s charismatic rock/folk sound.
Recorded in Espy’s Front Bar, the quality of the mix is superb. “There’s no post production or pro-tools trickery here,” read the liner notes written by Arnold. “It is an authentic glimpse at another time. There’s a bit of chaos and there’s lots of loving good vibrations.”
This just about says it all really. You are able to press play, sit back and let your self be entertained.
Well into loving the good things in life, Arne Sjostedt is a seasoned journalist with a background in music and the arts.