fanning-main

Renowned for their incisive integration of crooked guitars and radio-friendly hooks, Brisbane bred outfit Powderfinger for a while were Australia’s most exalted alternative acts. ARIA Music Awards, chart dominance, national acclaim; little could be better for the quintet. 2010. Game over.

However, out of the Powderfinger wreckage emerged their congenial front-man and songwriter Bernard Fanning. Such was his group’s universal appeal, the 45 year old still cuts a direct, amiable  figure. His music now shifting into the realms of bluesy folk – his days charging with mic in hand across festival stages an outlying recollection, now replaced by an evolved figurine set behind his battered acoustic – Fanning still retains the vocal sophistication that heightened Powderfinger’s commercial allure. Here inside at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge, all the overtones Fanning evokes flourished under the forceful murmurs of a ‘pay-day’ Thursday night audience.

Fanning is affable. Ebulliently he took down British hot-spots such as Yorkshire and Glasgow; sentiments that challenged the initial mellowness of ‘Unpicking a Puzzle’ – his voice rich in its melodically quaking passages, its bodied with the stripped framework generated through his fingerpicked guitar progressions – and ‘Departures (Blue Toowong Skies)’ – harboring thoughts upon ‘the beautiful truth’ in a vein similar to that of the damaged offspring of Sam Amidon and Tyler Walker. So often his mind would wander, displaying the carefree complexities of his thought-processes; traits incumbent through his works.

Four minute flashbacks to his original group’s catalogue became reminiscent sound-bites for the chanting audience; once carried by heavier, rock-orientated principles, they became sincere odes to his memories. “We didn’t want to do a farewell tour and take millions of money from our fans, I’d rather just do this,” as the sun-kissed reawakening of ‘Sunsets’ entered. ‘These Days’ and ‘Sail and the Wildest Stretch’ followed down this wistful route.

The harmonica rattled through ‘Not Finished Yet’ – hesitant within its rhythmic feel, the bluegrass feeling of sugarcoated sadness that the likes of American Andrew Combs embody, added a brittler energy to his sound – and  ‘Songbird’ engendered the summer fueled euphoria Fanning has become accustomed to creating.

Under the softening glow of the beatnik auditorium Fanning proved there is life after Powder. A life that is less chaotic, less injurious and less grasping. Fanning’s burgeoning career as one of Australia’s finest songwriters of the last 20 years is building once more; to such an extent he’s removing himself from any afterthoughts of powder at all.

Words by Clive K Hammond

MORE

BLOSSOMS, INTERVIEW, CAMP BESTIVAL
FOR many the last few years have absolutely flown by. Election after election, tragedy after tragedy, humane coming together of community, solidarity, Iceland, the year of the celebrity death, Pokemon Go. Too much to remember. Yet for four lads, who unbeknownst to them spent the whole of their lives living within 2km of each other, […]
NICK MULVEY, INTERVIEW, CAMP BESTIVAL
“WHEN you’re finished changing, you’re finished,” is how the antiquated adage from founding father Benjamin Franklin goes. That ability to be flexible and change when the time is right. Hundreds of years-ago that famous line was uttered, but it’s never felt more relevant, and for former modern-jazz-turned-songwriter-come-newly-christened-father Nick Mulvey, changing and maturing has always been […]
JOE INNES & THE CAVALCADE, FOREIGN DOMESTIC POLICY, INTERVIEW
“You know with this climate at the minute everything is changing,” London-based Joe Innes tell Quenched Music. With his new album ‘Foreign Domestic Policy’ taking years to finally arrange, it’s hardly surprising it’s become a labour of love for the self-confessed post-Brexit indie songwriter. “It took it’s time but that’s because in the time I […]
COMMON PEOPLE, SOUTHAMPTON, LIVE
AS THE final stragglers danced their way from the Common People main stage, the filthy sounds of favourite headliner Sean Paul still ringing around the ears, it was time for the organisers to reflect on how successful this year’s festival was. 40,000 flocked to Southampton’s Common in anticipation of yet another Bank Holiday jaunt on […]
SIMPLE MINDS, MAYFLOWER THEATRE, SOUTHAMPTON, LIVE
IN SIMPLE terms the word ‘acoustic’ means not having electrical amplification. But as Glaswegian new-wave act Simple Minds triumphantly demonstrated to a packed house at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre, definitions are subjective. You would be forgiven for expecting longstanding Minds members Jim Kerr, the idyllic vocalist and endearing frontman since the group first formed in 1977, […]
CARELESS PEOPLE, CHARLOTTE OC, ALBUM, RECORDED
FOR SOMETIME, Charlotte Mary O’Connor – aka Charlotte OC – has been the electro-soulstress on the cusp of brilliance. Her 2013 track ‘Colour My Heart’ remains one of the darkened pop classics that finally distanced her from the bratty pop career Sony had once dreamt she would have. And in the four-years since, critics, fans […]