James Milne is the real name of the artist who likes to perform under the pseudonym Lawrence Arabia. Like Crowded House's Neil Finn, Lawrence Arabia is originally from New Zealand. Lawrence Arabia's music can be defined more or less as folk rock. Though Milne is still young, none of the influences I heard in his music were his contemporaries but artists from the 50's, 60's and 70's. That is probably why I felt at home listening to his music.
The first song I heard from the band was “I've Smoked Too Much.” which was kind of a poppy ballad with falsetto background vocals. I thought it was kind of cute but I wasn't impressed until I heard “Beautiful Young Crew.” That second song (actually the band's third) had the best lyrical description about being young compared to any song I can recall. The chorus has a sort of reggae feel with the lyric being “And they love each other, but they hate each other, they're afraid of each other because they want to screw each other.” The lyric is simple but precise. Like “Beautiful Young Crew,” the next song also had a trumpet solo performed by Tom Watson which I really enjoyed. Except this time, the song's basic feel was more calypso.
All through the Lawrence Arabia's set I kept hearing Ray Davies of the Kinks as well as George Harrison. The similarity to Davies vocals became apparent to me when Lawrence Arabia performed his own songs "Talk About the Good Times." and "Fine Old Friends. " But when Lawrence Arabia and his band got to "Apple Pie Bed," with it's distorted bass line, I thought I was having a 70's flashback. The song had a sort of dance flavor but at the same time reminded me of the Beatles song (written by George Harrison) "Savoy Truffle."
Lawrence Arabia ended his set with a song I didn't recognize but enjoyed. There were a lot of sweet harmonies and a song fade out only to return with a musical tag ending. Since seeing the show I've been listening to Lawrence Arabia's album Chant Darling. And now I have one more comparison - The Beach Boys, their brand of vocal harmonies are all over the album.
What makes Lawrence Arabia's music different from his influences is his lyrics. They seem to be all about sex but from his own personal perspective. If you're interested, check out the video for "Apple Pie Bed," which can be found on YOUTUBE.James Milne AKA Lawrence Arabia plays acoustic guitar and keyboard. Lawrence Arabia's band are Tom Watson on guitar,Trumpet and vocals;Martin Keane on bass; Hayden East on keyboard,vocals and percussion; Daniel Ward on drums and vocals.
Crowded House got on stage at about 9:00PM and did not end till past 11. Yes, it was a long show but a good one nonetheless. The band's stage setting had a fairytale motif. Why - I don't know - but that's what it looked like. The curtian behind the band seemed to be a green moss pattern. Scattered around the stage were a plastic goose, rabbit, teddy bear and mushroom.. Each of the items were lit from the inside and looked like ornaments people put out on their lawns.
The boys dressed up for the occassion. They each wore a collared shirts. Mark Hart wore a dark suit and Neil Finn looked like he was dressed for Sunday brunch in what looked like a linen suit and a silk tie. Now that Finn's aged he looks more like a collage professor then the leader of a rock band.
Crowded House started the show with " I Feel Possessed," which is the opening song from their 1988 album Temple of Low Men. Before doing the next song, Neil Finn greeted the audience by speaking through the vocoder on the Korg mini-synth that was stationed next to him. He used the vocoder for the song "Saturday Sun" going back and forth playing lead guitar and the Korg. When the song ended, Finn kept talking through the vocoder. Finn was interrupted when someone in the front audience made a sort of puking sound which Finn imitated. Finn then pointed the person out and jokingly asked him if he was Australian. It then sparked a humorous conversation between Finn and bassist Nick Seymour.
When Finn started "Fall At Your Feet," the audience automatically sang along and kept singing till the end of the song. Finn gave the audience a chance to go solo, when he added a coda after the actual song and gave the audience parts to sing as he strummed on guitar.
Crowded House then moved on to "Don't Stop Now" from the 2007 album of the same name. Mark Hart, who had been playing a piano to the right of drummer Matt Sherrodd, moved upfront (downstage) to play guitar and do background vocals. There was something about the country feel of the jangling guitars and Neil Finn's vocals that reminded me of REM.
- On Your Command
- Weather With You/ *Down by the River (*intro meshup with Neil Young Cover)
- Chocolate Cake
(All the above pictures, except the first band press photo at the very top, were taken by me with my Droid X. A little blurry but not bad for a smart phone.)