Paul Kelly at Cadogan Hall
Cadogan Hall lies in the heart of Chelsea, its exterior splashed at night with vivid colour. The stage follows suit with blues, reds and purples illuminating the space, there to compliment the moods captured in the music of Australian singer-songwriter, Paul Kelly.
An icon in his home country for over three decades, he founded The Dots in the late 70s forming the Messengers seven years later. However, it is through his solo career that he has risen to the top, seen as one of Australia’s greatest musical exports. With 19 studio albums under his belt, his latest album, Spring and Fall brims with passion, with potent melodies captivating the listener with songs of love.
With just two guitars, a harmonica and a grand piano, this performance was free of spectacle. The spacious stage was left bare, the focus entirely on Kelly and his nephew, Dan Kelly. It was raw and captured a strange sense of intimacy in a large venue, small intervals giving them the chance to humour the audience with comical recollections and tales of his songs. Before Too Long brought The Messengers back to life, dedicated to the band’s guitarist Steve Connolly, and Don’t Harm the Messenger recalled another great Australian musician, the late Grant McLennan. The latter’s harmonious charm had the crowd out of their seats to dance along.
The passion present in his recordings was undoubtedly brought to the stage, his live performance so honest that any form of spectacle would have ruined the dynamic. At one point aptly describing himself as “just a guy with a guitar and a harmonica singing another love song”, his stripped down show led the crowd through Kelly’s personal life, Dan Kelly’s harmonies creating a mesmerising experience. His last song, Maralinga transfixed the crowd with sombre words of atom tests in Australia, leaving them with a capella chants of “Jesus”, again bringing an element of love.
This was a beautiful performance, giving the audience a good mix of songs from over 30 years. Both Paul and Dan Kelly were full of talent, creating a powerful atmosphere with just a few instruments. They enchanted the crowd completely, leaving the venue with a much deserved standing ovation.
Photos: Arnaud Stephenson
For further information and future events visit Paul Kelly’s website here.
Watch the video for New Found Year here: