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SUCH A DARK RIDE
As music fans, we have seen and heard lots of great music.
But only a handful of acts are truly special. Howzat! rarely
travels. I've been on a plane only twice in the past decade
- both times to see Perry Keyes play in Sydney. Tonight,
he's playing at The Vanguard in Newtown. The sign on the
door says "100% sold out". Even Peter Garrett has bought
a ticket. Howzat! once asked Pete what he loved about the
Sydney singer-songwriter. "Perry is the real deal," he replied.
"Songs from the heart, from the Aussie street. He is a rare
talent." The prince of Newtown, Tim Freedman, adds: "Perry
is one of the greatest lyricists Australia has produced.
He is the Ruth Park of the end of last century's Redfern.
His characters live, and they have all the more impact for
not having been spoken for before."
Perry Keyes' fans are fanatical. Tonight's crowd includes
people who have travelled from Cairns and Adelaide. After
more than two hours and 21 songs they respond with a standing
ovation. "It's really fucking good to be here," Perry says,
wryly adding, "I've been out of showbiz for a while." A
knee injury kept him out for all of 2013; tonight is his
first gig since 2012. Perry tells the crowd he'll ease into
the show with some ballads - "ballads about murder and drug
selling". He previews songs from his forthcoming album,
Sunnyholt. The title comes from the road that runs through
Sydney's outer-western suburbs. It harks back to a line
in The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw, the opening cut on
Perry's second album, The Last Ghost Train Home: "They've
sent you down to Campbelltown, to Mount Druitt and St Marys".
"It's a reference to my family and neighbours that were
'moved' out to the west from the old working class neighbourhoods
of inner-city Sydney," Perry explains. "More than 150,000
people were 'settled' out there in the late '60s and early
'70s. The songs on Sunnyholt are basically the stories of
what happened to some of those people and their descendants.
In a way, it's part two of The Last Ghost Train Home."
Perry - who plays this Saturday [21 June] at The Flying
Saucer Club - spent most of his first five years in hospital.
At 14 months, he contracted polio. It was the last laboratory-confirmed
case of the disease in Australia. While his childhood friends
went surfing and played rugby league, Perry retreated to
his bedroom and taught himself to play guitar, inspired
by The Clash and Lou Reed. "Having a dodgy leg meant I was
on the outside looking in. Music was this great little secret
that I stumbled upon." He still lives in the old neighbourhood.
He barracks for the Rabbitohs and is a regular at the Redfern
Oval café, but he doesn't romanticise Redfern. He sings
about "streets full of broken people", where "some aches
never leave" and people "sleep but don't dare dream". Perry
Keyes is the Springsteen you've never heard of. One day
they'll call him a national treasure.
"Death or glory, it's the same old story/ Which one ya gonna
choose?" - Perry Keyes, Things That A Boy Would Do
Justice Crew spend their sixth week on top.
Que Sera JUSTICE CREW (number one)
Geronimo SHEPPARD (six)
Fancy IGGY AZALEA (seven)
Chandelier SIA (eight)
Super Love DAMI IM (14)
Tightrope ILLY (18)
Price of Fame 360 FEATURING GOSSLING (19, debut)
High PEKING DUK (26)
Don't Stop 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (32)
She Looks So Perfect 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (34)
Eye Of The Needle SIA (36, debut)
Live It Up 360 FEATURING PEZ (37)
The Amity Affliction score their second number one album.
Let The Ocean Take Me THE AMITY AFFLICTION (number one,
The Very Best INXS (13)
The New Classic IGGY AZALEA (18)
Flesh & Blood THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (19)
40 Years of Rock - Greatest Studio Hits THE ANGELS (21)
Fuse KEITH URBAN (22)
Built On Glass CHET FAKER (27)
Raw X Infinity REMI (29, debut)
Greatest Hits THE ANGELS (33)
Atlas RUFUS (34)
Harlequin Dream BOY & BEAR (38)
At The Speedway PERRY KEYES
Questions THE EVENING CAST
Zinedine Zidane VAUDEVILLE SMASH
Mexican Motel WESTERN STARS
People Will Break Your Heart JEFF LANG
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