Xmas Even @ Corner Hotel
There are only two things certain in life: death and Xmas Even being solid as a bloody rock.
As worn out Melburnians limped to the end of the year, Even decided to slap them awake and celebrate the 20th anniversary of their seminal debut record Less Is More. There was plenty of nostalgia in the air when ‘90s gents Header played a lively set of dad-tastic tunes – singer Ian Freeman’s voice shining through. With four acts on the bill, the Corner kept the night moving by alternating between their bandroom’s mainstage and its little bro next to the merch stand – Mike Noga and his five bandmates squeezed themselves onto the small platform and went for it.
The atmosphere immediately changed when Even appeared – the power trio are the real deal and no matter who they share a stage with, they always come out on top. They’ve got the songs and musicianship to run with anyone. Sure, there’s comparisons to The Beatles, The Kinks and the whoevers, but Even still remain true to themselves.
The guys kick right into Karmic Flop, the first track off Less Is More (a record voted as one of the 30th best Aussie album ever in a reader’s poll from The Age). Frontman Ash Naylor is a guitar wizard with a knack for just the right amount of banter before cracking on. With longtime bandmates Wally Kempton (also of The Meanies) and Matthew Cotter by his side, Naylor runs a tight ship stowed with contagious melodies. There are a couple of guest performances during their first set, including some violin and flute solos. The album’s finisher, Peaches and Cream, throws a few middle aged men into dizzy excitement. After a short dunny break, Even gave us a curated set of their (and our) favourite tunes.
When watching Even it feels like you’re in on a secret that you know loads of other people would love to know – but really, if they don’t know this secret by now, they’re dickheads.
Words by Naj
Image by Zo Damage
Highlight: Don’t Wait.
Lowlight: Two-worlds-collide (hopefully just a Christmas drinks crowd).
Crowd Favourite: Black Umbrella.