Tunng at The Spiegeltent, Sydney Festival 14/1/08

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I’ve waited a long time to see Tunng live.

Cyclic was the first magazine in Australia to show any interest in Tunng and many of our writers are amongst their biggest fans, collecting all their various non-album miscellany, and their debut album was one of the first records featured in the Cyclic Music Club.

They were worth the wait. And the Spiegeltent provided the ideal venue offering a high level of production and attention to sound, as well as attracting a very diverse crowd – old grey-haired folkies, young electronic nerds, and a bunch inbetween.

Transcending the problems that have beset other artists of a similar ilk when translating the heavily studio-affetced sonic detail of their recordings to a live setting, Tunng managed to deliver a show that was lively, fun and still sonically complex.

As a six piece live band, Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay’s studio productions come alive. Playing a set made up of pretty much everything from their three albums, it was remarkable to hear and see just how much of the tinkles, rustles and chimes that accompany the strumming, vocals and electronic drums is produced live. The audience who could see to the rear left of stage were treated to chimes being played by Martin Smith’s set of spritely toes whilst his hands were engaged manipulating a clarinet. It was quite wonderful. Becky Jacobs’ warm vocals and awkward dancing perfectly offset Sam and Mike’s harmonising and strumming, adding new layers to old favourites like Tale From The Black, Fair Doreen, Jenny Again, Engine Room and Sweet William. These older tracks melded with more recent material from Good Arrows in a way that drew out the common threads that run through their catalogue.

In a live setting, especially, Tunng are far more folk than tronica, but all the while striking in their ability to mix the modern and traditional in both lyrics and sounds.

It was a toe-tappingly great show and by the end everyone, band and audience were beaming. Highly memorable.

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About Author

Seb Chan founded Cyclic Defrost Magazine in 1998 with Dale Harrison. He handed over the reins at the end of 2010 but still contributes the occasional article and review.

2 Comments

  1. Cyclic was the first magazine in Australia to show any interest in Tunng and many of our writers are amongst their biggest fans, collecting all their various non-album miscellany, and their debut album was one of the first records featured in the Cyclic Music Club.

    Made me look! Yep, that’ll be me, January 2005 :) Geoff @Static Caravan sent me the promo of Mother’s Daughter in October 2004, and I was playing them from August that year. Cripes!

  2. I got Mother’s Daughter in Berlin in April 2005 – and it made my favourites list that year – but looks like you beat me to it Peter. I loved it, still do, but I’ve found decreasing returns from both Tunng records since. So I didn’t expect the show to be as great as it ended up being – totally agree with your review Seb. Great fun, charming, disarming.