Friday night at The Great Club Marrickville marked the start of an east coast tour for Toby Martin, best known as lead singer of Sydney indie band Youth Group. If this show is anything to go by, audiences on the rest of the tour will be delighted.
The night opened with award winning screen composer, Amanda Brown (also of Go Betweens fame) accompanied by Damien Lane on guitar and Bree Van Reyk on drums. Amanda’s set featured a preview of her new album, 8 Guitars, and judging by the set, the album is well worth getting a hold of. Apparently only 150 copies available on vinyl. Was lovely to see some familiar musical faces in the audience too – easy to spot Go Betweens partner Lindy Morrison right up front as well as the lovely Jodi Phillis of The Clouds and Mark Williams (Dragon) in attendance.
Toby opened his set filling the room with songs about his long time home town Sydney from across his Youth Group catalogue including the tunes Erskinville Nights and Bat Piss as well as selections from his two solo albums, Songs From Northam Avenue (2017) and I Felt The Valley Lifting (2021). Songs From Northam Avenue was inspired by stories from the Sydney suburb of Bankstown featuring local western Sydney musicians and perhaps in contrast, the latest offering was written whilst Toby was living in the the small northern English village of Slaithwaite in collaboration with local folk, rock and Persian musicians from that region.
Toby was soon joined onstage by his special guests for the evening. The audience was first introduced to Youth Group’s Cameron Emerson-Elliot on guitar, closely followed by Amanda Brown on violin. Toby then swapped his acoustic guitar for the baby grand piano as Bree Van Reyk made her way back behind the drum kit along with Matthew Steffen on bass. The band were then joined by Mohammed Lelo on the exotic looking qanun, completing the line up for the evening.
The tour continues with shows at Smiths Alternative in Canberra on 27 November (with Nick Craft), Brunswick Artists Bar on 8 December (with Rory Cooke) and The Junk Bar in Brisbane on 10 December (with Luke Daniel Peacock).