Kasey Chambers - World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, 7/05/2017; Kasey Crushed It; Plus An Excellent Opening Set By Garrett Kato

Photo courtesy of Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers and her band gave a phenomenal performance, Wednesday night July 5th, at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live; they flew in the night before from Sydney, Australia to resume the American leg of her Dragonfly tour. "I was glad that they let us in to your country" [audience laughter]. Dragonfly is Chambers' newest album, available since March Down Under, it was only just released here. Dragonfly is a double album with one disc produced by Kasey's brother Nash (her long time producer) and featuring her road band. The other disc was produced by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly and features numerous guest appearances such as Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Paul Kelly, Foy Vance and more.

There were three generations of Chambers this time. Kasey's dad, Bill Chambers, plays guitar in her band as he's done for the past nineteen years since she first went solo. Kasey also had one of her three children with her; her younger son Arlo (9) came out on stage during one song to play a cajón. Not joining mom on tour was daughter Poet (5) and her older brother Talon (15). Talon provided Kasey the inspiration to write "Is God Real". She told the story of co-parenting with her ex and Talon's creative solution to the seemingly disparate religious views of his parents.

The downstairs venue, though not sold out, gave Chambers such a warm and enthusiastic reception that she was knocked out by it, "I never thought so many of you would come along." Part of the reason that the crowd was so receptive was the way that Chambers told stories with so much heart and emotion that some of the intros seemed longer than the songs. She really put herself out there and the audience loved it.

Her set surveyed most of her career and even though her new album, Dragonfly, is a double CD with twenty songs, she only played about four of them. She was unusually apologetic about playing new songs, basically offering that if the audience was "nice about the new one, I'll reward you with an old one." I'm thinking that since Chambers is such a major star in Australia that she might be used to larger concert crowds offering some resistant to new material. Here in America, I feel that fans that know her seek out her shows and may be more interested in her new stuff than she realizes.

Chambers was amazing, as was her band. In addition to lead vocals, Kasey played guitars and banjo. Bill Chambers played guitars and James Haselwood played bass. Kasey talked about finding her band's two newest members, Brandon Dodd (banjo and guitars) and Josh Dufficy (drums and percussion), playing together in a beer garden in one of the small beach towns of the central coast of New South Wales, Australia where she lives.

The highlights were many. Click on the linked titles below to watch video. Chambers was especially delighted after "Not Pretty Enough", the second song of her set. "Nothing makes me happier than looking down and seeing a big tough guy like you singing, 'Am I not pretty enough?' [crowd laughter]."

Chambers' last five songs were killer. First she did a cover of the Little Feat song "Willin'" written by Lowell George. Next, she introduced "Aint No Little Girl", a new one from Dragonfly, as being "the glue that holds the whole new album together." As she started playing the song she added, "it's actually the glue that holds my whole life together... a lot of glue" The reward for that wonderful new one was her signature song, "The Captain", which closed her set. She came back and encored with what may be my personal favorite from her new album,"Talkin' Baby Blues". I can't adequately describe this tune, or her life story which came as the intro. You just will have to click and watch the video. Finally, after checking to make sure that the venue didn't mind her going overtime, she finished with "Barricades & Brickwalls". Kasey's performance was so good and her stage presence was so cheerful and overflowing with energy that you could not help but love her.

After the show, Bill Chambers came out for some conversation with members of the audience who hadn't left yet. It was great to meet him, a super nice guy.

Many thanks to World Cafe Live for the lighting and sound, and especially to Garrett Kato for the live mix of Kasey's set. Many thanks to Bev Kates for the camera work and to Lindsey Mitchell for video production. Thanks also to IvanBourgeois and squintyt4e for use of their videos on the last four songs.

Watch "Not Pretty Enough"

Setlist: Click on linked titles to watch
01. Wheelbarrow
02. Not Pretty Enough
03. This Flower
04. Rattlin' Bones feat. Brandon
05. Is God Real
06. Pony
07. Crossfire
08. If I Died
09. A Million Tears
10. Oh Grace
11. Georgia Brown
12. Hey
13. GT Song feat. Brandon & Josh
14. Willin' (Little Feat cover)
15. Ain't No Little Girl video by IvanBourgeois, June 8, 2017, Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
16. The Captain video by squintyt4e, July 12, 2017 at the Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA.
17. Talkin' Baby Blues video by IvanBourgeois, Mar 9, 2017, Live at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley, California
18. Barricades & Brickwalls video by squintyt4e, July 12, 2017 at the Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA.

Kasey Chambers - Dragonfly
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Kasey Chambers' Website
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Kasey Chambers' Twitter

Photo courtesy of Amplify, JohnnyD Photography

Garrett Kato lives in the same central coast area of New South Wales, Australia as Kasey Chambers. That's where she found the Canadian native busking on the street. As Kato tells it, the two struck up a conversation; soon afterwards they were both recording at the same studio and he asked about opening for her.

Kato is a man of many talents, which were evident in his performance. The seven song set consisted of six originals. Kato won over the crowd immediately with his understated story intros, which showed his disarming sense of humor.

He introduced "Trouble Will Find Me" by talking about relocating from Canada to Australia, only to discover that life there was basically the same and that change had to come from within. The influence behind "Take It Slowly", according to Kato, is advice that he has for his daughter.

Kato's one cover song was the Temptations' "My Girl". His unhurried acoustic version answered the question of what "My Girl" might sound like without that iconic bass line. Kato told a sincere story about writing "Sweet Jane" for his mother, only to find out later that the song had been selected to be used in the movie Bad Moms [more crowd laughter].

Kato has been compared with Bruce Springsteen by Rolling Stone Australia. Without any mention in advance, Kato dropped a verse of Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" right into the middle of "The River Mouth". His last song was a sing-a-long.

All through his set, Kato seemed genuinely touched by the warm reception he was getting from Chambers' audience. The crowd reacted to the degree that he spoke between songs. After his set, Kato went behind the venue's sound console and did the live mix for Kasey's set.

The next day, I purchased Kato's second and latest album, That Low and Lonesome Sound, and it's quite good. Rolling Stone Australia said, "Kato’s debut LP is a warm and gentle gem, rich with songwriting nous, simple instrumentation, emotion leaking from every pore." I agree.

Watch "Trouble Will Find Me"

Setlist: Click on linked titles to watch
01. Arkansas
02. Trouble Will Find Me
03. Take It Slowly
04. My Girl (Temptations cover)
05. Sweet Jane
06. The River Mouth
07. Oh My My

Garrett Kato - That Low and Lonesome Sound
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Buy at iTunes
Stream on Spotify

Garrett Kato's Website
Garrett Kato's Facebook
Garrett Kato's Twitter


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