Dallas Crane @ Federation Square

Coming home from work on the St Kilda Road tram, it was a pleasant surprise to find Dallas Crane kicking off a free set in Federation Square. The Samsung Torch Relay Nominations for the 2006 Olympic Games had been held there that morning, and there was still an ice sculpture and a large ramp covered in artificial snow that children were sliding down on large inflatable rings.

It was a chilly night, and I wasn’t feeling (or looking) very “rock”, wearing business clothes and with a copy of the Financial Review poking out of my bag. There was a large audience, loosely packed to take advantage of the slightly sloped paving down to the stage. Wandering into the throng, I noticed Jimmy Barnes and Wally Meanie – although I would probably be more surprised not to see Wally at a rock gig.

Dallas Crane played a solid and enjoyable one-hour set, covering tracks from their two previous albums as well as a new single, Sit on My Knee, sung as a duet with Jimmy Barnes (which explained why he was in the audience) and appearing on his Double Happiness album.

I had slightly mixed feelings about this. Sit on My Knee has always been my favourite Dallas Crane track. Seeing them play for the first time at Meredith in 1998 when the only songs I knew were Sit on My Knee and the Andre Williams track they used to play is still a music festival highlight. Jimmy Barnes isn’t exactly “Mr. Musical Credibility”, but maybe this will help Dallas Crane finally get airplay on the Austereo network. They deserve mainstream success.

While the crowd grew during the show (despite the cold), and there were lots of heads nodding and feet tapping along to Dallas Crane’s back catalogue, the crowd favourite seemed to be their cover of AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie. Hopefully we’ll see the same response to Sit on My Knee once the single gets commercial airplay.

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