The return of any Melbourne band from a long-term hiatus is always cause for celebration, especially when that band is one of Australia’s best and most-loved rock bands. Such is the case with the recent reformation of Dallas Crane. Excitement started late last year when they released their first new single since 2007 and when they announced an Australia Day show with Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk and Dirt River Radio, it was never going to be a small affair.

By the time I arrived, Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk already had the crowd enraptured, his signature blues rock winning them over easily. His guitar tone never fails to please, the crunch of his overdrive as important to the sound as his trademark vocal growl. An a cappella version of Chuck Berry’s ‘Nadine’ was a highlight of the set with the audience helping to keep time with some synchronised handclaps before he closed the set with a brilliantly raw version of the provocative ‘Bad Motherfucker.’ As he left the stage, he warned us all that “Dallas Crane will blow your fuckin’ head off.”

Taking residency on the side stage, Dirt River Radio came charging out of the gate for their second set, instantly grabbing and holding the attention of the entire room. Their more straightforward approach to blues rock really sitting well with the crowd. I thought maybe they’d won some fans early with their first set but I overheard some people talking about how much better the second set was. The dual guitar attack worked brilliantly and they maintained the ferocity even when switching to an acoustic and banjo combo and the vocal arrangements never failed to impress.

From behind the closed curtain Dallas Crane teased the crowd with some guitar riffs before the curtain opened and they kicked straight into ‘No Through Road.’ On stage it seemed they’d never stopped playing together, Pete Satchell and original bass player Chris Brodie feeding off each other while Dave Larkin ran around the stage with apparent unending energy, psyching up the crowd to epic proportions. The set was full of fan favourites with old tracks like ‘Goddamn Pride’ and ‘Unlucky Star’ and the crowd was very receptive to new single “I’m Sorry Darlin’, but it was still their breakthrough single from a decade ago, ‘Dirty Hearts’, that really got the crowd singing along, and I found myself joining in wholeheartedly.

The turnout and the reception at the Corner on Australia Day was definitely an indication that Dallas Crane had been missed on the musical landscape, but for me what was even more obvious was that people were just excited to see some good old-fashioned pub rock again. While guitar music may be being heralded as “over” (for the millionth time), clearly no-one told the fans in Richmond on Sunday night and, thankfully, the message hasn’t gotten through to Dallas Crane either.

Wes Fahey


2 Responses

  1. Matt


    I was lucky enough to catch Dallas Crane for the first time ever on Aus day, however being my first experience with the band I knew none of their songs!

    There is one song in particular that I am wanting to hear again, do you by any chance have a record of the set list from that night?


  2. Wes Fahey

    Hey Matt,
    I don’t have a setlist, I only wrote down a handful of songs they played. Unfortunately there isn’t anything on either so that’s a bust.
    They do have a few albums on Rdio and Spotify and their latest few songs are on SoundCloud so maybe you can find it if you take a listen there.


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