Dave McCormack / Gentle Ben / The Imperials Live Review

Beat, August 2004

In a review published a couple of weeks back (possibly written by some hack who’s too fond of bracketed comments), Mr McCormack was lauded as one of Australia’s greatest singer songwriter types. His brilliant live performances were neglected their rightful dues.

The Imperials’ first gig got the night started. Lead by former Custaro Youth Orchestra member Paul Medew, the band also features Tim Campbell from Mrs Pinkwhistle on bass and a drummer whose name I missed but who made the other two nervous by running late. Campbell, smartarse that he is, sported a t-shirt with “Paul Medew and the Custardroids” written over a picture of the Titanic.

Next up were the interestingly titled Gentle Ben and His Sensitive Side. These guys kick some serious arse. With Ben Corbett (no relation, dangnammit) from Six Ft Hick on vocals and general dead sexy lead man duties, the crowd was theirs in a moment. Corbett, sporting a pencil moustache and jumping between English and a bit of Spanish, looked like a mix of Hugh Jackman and Richard Fidler being invaded by the spirit of Mike Patton (get your mind’s eye wrapped around that, ladies). All swagger, gyration and booming voice, it’s tempting to say he’s the really Australian Nick Cave…. His Sensitive Side also features Polaroid Dylan McCormack.

The mood was set, and The Polaroids took to the stage. David McCormack was forced to call upon all his charm and wit just to wake the ladies out of a post-Ben daze. Bringing out an old Custard song early in the piece did the trick, as did newbie Hypnotist of Lady. Cameron Bruce’s keyboard work did its part too.

Most of the set list came from the album being launched, The Truth About Love. Tracks from the first Polaroids album were sadly few and far between, but the McCormack back catalogue got a decent look in. The near-obligatory cover of Your Woman (wonder if White Town know this song doesn’t belong to them anymore?) got some very special synchronised guitar work and even morphed into Eye Of The Tiger for a while.

The gig looked set to finish with The Titanics’ Millionaire Adventurer Balloonist, until a last minute decision brought Gentle Ben back to the stage to take vocals on a very rockin’ cover of I’m Bored. This is why we love live music.