Live Review: Dark Mofo Festival – Baxter Dury, Odeon Theatre, Hobart, 10.06.22

Dark Mofo is back in town, there’s snow on kunyani/Mount Wellington, the temperatures have plunged, and all is good in the world. Except for the bits that aren’t.

In the glorious Odeon Theatre, Baxter Dury appears in his trademark creased white suit like a forgotten gin-soaked bureaucrat at some diplomatic post in some far flung corner of the British Empire, suffuse with decay and excess, indulgence and bacchanalia. His performance tonight was mesmerising: gurning, twisting, leering and acting at times like a performer at a Burlesque show, shrugging off his jacket with a provocative glimmer in the eye. Veering from outlandish interpretive dancing to ebullient rants like some demented preacher in southern USA, he was utterly transfixing.

As to be expected, the set list was a best of – every song a delicious piece of drama and excess. ‘Miami’ filled with seething decadence, ‘I’m Not Your Dog’ brutal and precise, ‘Slumlord’ filled with corruption and decay.

After a break following ‘Miami’, Dury changed into a blinding Hawaiian shirt and sweatpants, posing provocatively and rather absurdly with a red dressing gown which was flung into the ravenous audience. There is no doubt a sense of the tropical madness in Dury: a strange antithesis between his London brogue and Dickensian character and a Grand Theft Auto world based in Florida with oppressive heat and dubious morals.

The set ended with ‘These Are My Friends’ in which Dury assured us that he loved us. We know he didn’t mean it, but it cast a golden ray in a freezing night at the edge of the world, at the beginning of the best festival in the world.

Over the course of his relatively late in life career, Dury has perfected a sort of late night cabaret velvet-laced persona with his spoken words being acerbic and observational, sometime angry and exhorting interspersed by sweet melodies delivered by a dissociated heavenly chorus. You cannot help but detect his father in the ranting and bellowing: the cockney roughian railing against the vicissitudes of life with a curious mixture of fury and a self-deprecatory sense of humour. He is the ultimate showman.

Dury’s band played their supporting part – stoic and professional: on keyboards and providing the essential layered female melodies Madelaine Hart was mostly icy still but broke into classy discos moves in ‘Say Nothing’. There were backing tapes a plenty to bolster the drums, guitar and keyboards but this did not distract, for we were there for Dury and the songs served him to perfection.


  • DOA
  • Leak
  • I’m Not Your Dog
  • Slumlord
  • Nightchancers
  • Sleep People
  • Porcelain
  • Almond Milk
  • Oi
  • Pleasure
  • Palm Trees
  • Miami
  • Cocain Intro
  • Cocaine
  • Say Nothing
  • Prince of Tears
  • These are My Friends

A simple backdrop promoted Dury’s best of, ‘Mr Maserati’, out through Heavenly Recordings / [PIAS] here and through the link below:

Feature Photographs and Gallery: Arun Kendall

Previous PREMIERE: Nick Leng is at his most vulnerable in clip for 'My Mind is a Mess in the Morning'; new album next month
Next Album Review: TC & The Groove Family - ‘First Home’: global beat today-jazz with a collective spirit.

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.