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Bright Lights, Big City, Big Love, Big Thanks!

David McComb is not a subject. He was a person. Melbourne being the town it is, a lot of people — punters, bands, artists — knew him personally or had contact with him in some way. And others, simply, were inspired by his work. So: who to ask to play? And, how to make a truly memorable evening? When the great folk at The Corner Hotel said yes to hosting our fundraiser, and other grand folk like our sound engineer Bek Varcoe, stage manager Narelle Sullivan, and RRR leisure-master MC Jonnie Von Goes all put their hands up to help, we knew had a show. What would ice the cake? My co-producer Danielle Karalus had a brainwave and we decided to mount an auction to raise extra funds between bands. Who to perform such deeds? Enter Triple R Station Manager Kath Letch: a woman with a seemingly endless reservoir of goodwill, good ideas, good contacts and good taste. She gently suggested we secure the services of a gentleman named Andrew Gaynor, who had auctioned off all the framed posters from Marios and The Continental in 2005 to help raise funds for Triple R, post- move.

After many years in Perth, Andrew knew The Triffids, and immediately consented to do the honours, saying he would be “would be delighted - nay, HONOURED - to be the auctioneer on behalf of the memory of one hell of a great poet and musician.”

Lance Rock Publicity leant their skills, talent, brains, good company, gin, and pure sass to come aboard as co-presenters. A work colleague named Guy Shield designed our poster, giving us — oh, about 7 different design options in 24 hours, Madman Printing sponsored our print job and Plakkit (who ‘stick em up’) did just that with our posters. Armies of auction and crew volunteers pitched in: people just came out of the woodwork everywhere to help.

And so it was that Jonnie Von Goes (resplendent in a blue satin suit) and Kat ‘Mousetrap’ Perdriau out of retirement for the evening behind The Corner’s decks, the crowd came to be entertained and to support our film. They walked away moved by the towering songs of a sorely missed talent. Playing a mixture of their own material and songs penned by the late McComb, the evening’s entertainers engaged an audience who passion for the songs matched their own. It became ‘one of those nights’.

The Mimeset, warming up before their departure for Europe, contributed a powerful Setting You Free before being joined by spoken word performer Sean Whelan, who read McComb’s poem Behind the Garages of this Country during I Want to Conquer You, and then an superb original piece on the late songwriter.

Charles Jenkins gave the crowd a superb Raining Pleasure before delving into some of McComb’s favourite Dylan compositions, including a beautiful You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, before Diving Bell (featuring, among many others, Matt Habben who played in McComb’s last band costar) offered up Red Pony with a horn arrangement, then a superb Tender is the Night.

The first of the evening’s auctions then took the floor with art auctioneer Mr Gaynor taking bids on all manner of generously donated prizes from Rubber Records, Crumpler, Croxton Records, Eureka Coffee, Madman Music, Queenscliff Music Festival and more, before Shackleton took McComb fans back ‘to the pines’ with 25 to 5, them back to very beginning with Spanish Blue.

After Gaynor’s return to the floor where he whipped the gathered crowd into a frenzy as they outbid one another for signed pictures of Lobby Loyde, the big guns came out and Gaynor landed a cavalcade of bids for a Gretsch hollow body guitar (that had to kept safe from lustful musicians) passes to this year’s Meredith Music Festival, 2008 team signed St Kilda Football guernsey and an adventure holiday to Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea from Ecocamp. As I discovered, there is just nothing like an auction to get people excited!

As The Blackeyed Susans took the stage and rolled through a triumphant, sublime set of songs either penned or co-penned by McComb, they were joined by ex Triffids Graham Lee on pedal steel and (Dave’s brother) Rob McComb on guitar.

As they ran through A Curse on You, Ocean of You, Leaning (from Love of Will) and The Good Life Never Ends (from his last recordings with costar) and more, the crowd were truly caught up in the inevitable emotion of the evening. Again, it all came back to the songs and the place from whence they came. And, it was real honour to have two Triffids in the house playing with The Susans; who put on towering performance on the night they got around to playing The Triffids’ song Blackeyed Susan for the very first time, co-written by bassist Phil Kakulas and McComb in the late ‘80s for The Black Swan.

David McComb’s been gone a while now: nothing can change that. But, when I compare the treatment, respect and care his body of work is being afforded by Graham Lee who’s overseen the re-issues programme, and others involved, it’s easy to see the songs are in safe hands; safer — dare I say — than the legacies of some fairly major international talents no longer with us.

If you were on our guests at The Corner, thank you so much for joining us. When you walk out of a cinema or buy the DVD, you will know you played a part in the film being made. The Love in Bright Landscapes Benefit Show raised $15,000 towards funding the production of the Love In Bright Landscapes documentary, which will continue to take the David McComb legacy nationally and internationally.

What a night!

Thanks to everyone who attended the Love in Bright Landscapes gig. Many people have told us it’s fast becoming one of those gigs that will go down in history. Check out the Gallery photos to relive some of the special moments. A live recording of the gig will be available soon next week. We’ll make a post when it’s up and running. And, it looks like we will also be releasing a CD of the incredible interpretations of David McComb songs by the bands on the night. Stay tuned for more info over the next few months.

Now for the amazing figures… with your help, and the help of our very generous sponsors, we raised $15,000. That’s right… $15K that will go straight into making the film on David McComb. If you attended the gig, let us know what you thought.

And, a huge congratulations to The Triffids for being inducted into the 2008 ARIA Hall of Fame in early July.

Gallery 7 - Gig photos

All photos copyright Michelle Dunn and Alison Shirley. Please ask them if you want to purchase or re-publish, and for high resolution copies at info@michelledunn.com.au.

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Triffids members playing at Love in Bright Landscapes gig

Just announced… Former Triffids members, Graham Lee and Rob McComb will be playing with The Blackeyed Susans at the Love in Bright Landscapes fundraising gig. And, for the first time since it’s release 20 years ago, they will play the song Blackeyed Susan - never before played live by either The Triffids or Blackeyed Susans. This gig is going to be an absolute ripper.

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