For the third year running I went and saw Dazza Hazza’s annual xmas show at the NSC. This is now a tradition that is all but set in stone to be repeated year in, year out. Special mention should go out to Sandy, who invited me into the tradition with her group of regulars. I asked on the night how many times she had seen Darren and the response was a tentative 15. Trooper!
The opening act for the night was American folkster David Dondero - the very first artist signed to Darren’s newly created record label Flippin Yeah Industries. For someone with the wealth of touring experience of Dondero, his stage presence left a little to be desired. Whether it can be blamed on nerves or the curry he had earlier in the night will remain a mystery. David sang with a twang similar to the of Conor Oberst, but trading angst for a sense of humour. A song about a friend’s dog was a highlight.
My opinions on Darren Hanlon as a live performer have been said before, but for your benefit I will repeat them. There are Australian artists I like more than him, and for the most part I would choose them over him if a clash was to arise, but Darren Hanlon should be number one on everyone’s bucket list of live acts to see once. He perfectly represents live music and what makes it great and shows how the live arena can add so much to songs.
As for highlights from the night, you could mostly just refer to my review from the corresponding show from last year - I Waited For The 17, All These Things, Elbows and Happiness Is A Chemical. Darren was was joined on stage by David Dondero, Lisa Mitchell and Steph Hughes (of JJJ presenting and Dick Diver fame) at different stages throughout the show. All great cameos and enough for me to check out Dick Diver’s stuff and for Lisa to win me over (I was previously a doubter).
Everyone should keep an eye out for dates by Darren in the future, but if all else fails, I’ll see you at the Northcote Social Club next year!