By TERRI LEE FATOUROS
Robin Griffith acted on a “spark of inspiration” twenty months ago when he decided to create a boutique-style music venue in Red Hill, known as Music On The Hill, or MOTH for short. Robin and a small group of like-minded music lovers wanted to create an experience they wished to enjoy, and luckily for us they did.
MOTH is held on the first Friday evening of the month at the Red Hill Pavilion, 184 Arthurs Seat Road. The combined sporting clubs under the banner of Red Hill Sports Clubs host the event and showcase some of the Peninsula’s finest musicians. MOTH’s format is roots and singer-songwriter based – the night usually starts off with a local artist followed by a headlining national or international artist.
There’s some sort of “warp-drive” buzz around MOTH. On entering, you’re greeted visually with a classy yet simply-transformed atmosphere. A floor-to-ceiling black curtain adorns the pop-up stage down the front, accompanied by professional sound and lighting equipment. Row after row of chairs are crammed together, which incidentally get taken by the many locals who consume in large quantities the prodigious local wine and delicious cheese platters available for purchase during the sophisticated and talented performances on the night.
MOTH is carving its mark on the national and international map and is booked 12 months in advance, with several remarkable artists headlining later in the year.
The support act I saw on the night was local 8-piece, all-female, world music acappella outfit, Ling Marra. Kelly World, Zoe Palin, Bek Hyde, Claire Burrows, Jill McPartlane, Terryn Hickinbotham, Yolande Strengers and Carolyn McDonald are a bunch of local mums who get together weekly at Hickinbotham Winery and sing traditional and world music songs in various languages.
Some say they’re a drinking group with a singing problem, rehearsing at the winery each week. Check them out on their Ling Marra Facebook page, because not only do they do lots of charity performances, they also support big-name acts like Archie Roach.
However, the starring act that blew my mind was the Jordie Lane Duo, comprising singing partners Jordie Lane and Clare Reynolds. These two have been touring the world for the last few years and are achieving critical acclaim.
Thornbury born but now a Los Angeles transplant, Lane returned to Australia and to MOTH with Reynolds to release Frederick Steele McNeil Ferguson, the first single from their third album, slated for release later this year.
“Since his critically acclaimed folk/blues inspired Blood Thinner album back in 2011, Jordie has gone on to tour the world several times over, with appearances at Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Celtic Connections folk festivals, as well as tours with Billy Bragg, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Moody Blues to name a few. Accompanied by the incomparable Clare Reynolds on vocals, keys and percussion, they have created a duet show that’s garnering huge praise worldwide’.
Says Lane, “Frederick Steele McNeil Ferguson was my great grandfather’s name and the song is based on him going to WW1. All my songs are original and all have special meanings, with emphasis on Australian and American folk, including tales and stories I’ve experienced.”
When not on tour with Lane, Reynolds is a full time songwriter for film and television, as many of L.A’s. artists are.
“Los Angeles is a great place, as everyone comes to town to write… there are always lots of projects going on. L.A. is also a great base for touring and being right in the heart of the scene means we are getting some really great shows as a duo. Within the next 12 months or so we will be touring the U.S.A.,” says Reynolds.
Lane’s acoustic guitar and soulful vocals really did send shivers down my spine. Poignant emotion radiated throughout his songs, leaving some a little teary eyed. Between the two, beautiful heartfelt harmonies perfect in pitch and tone merged to create sweet, melodious ascents which were simply spellbinding.
Jordie Lane and Clare Reynolds are truly world-class. You can check them out at the Jordie Lane Facebook page.
If you’re looking for a cruisy, mellow evening tinged with class while boasting an international boutique music feel, then MOTH is the place to go. As Molly Meldrum would say, “Do yourself a favour” and get down to MOTH – you’ll be pleasantly thrilled.
Tickets $25.00 non-members, $20.00 members.