EUGENE “Hideaway” BRIDGES The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW 18 February, 2012
The quasi-Australian Bridges played one of his favorite clubs in the Sydney area last night, this time as a trio (Rowan Lane – bass guitar; Mitch Preston – drums). This the night after his sell-out crowd at The Basement for a Sam Cooke celebration, complete with horn section and back-up singers(?). I was unable to get to that, but it seemed to set Eugene up very nicely for his two sets in Cronulla. The first one was the best I’ve ever heard him in the decade or so that I’ve been following him locally. It was one of those instances when the music levitates or something, taking this listener into what might pass for Nirvana! The set brought tears to these old eyes (in a good way!) and pinned me to my chair… I’ve not had that sort of experience often in the years since leaving The States. His second set was merely excellent.
The band was typically good – Lane has worked with Eugene for yonks, while Preston was a different kind of drummer to Declan Kelly – simpler and not flashy, yet appropriately in-the-pocket. That describes the whole performance. It went from pianissimo to fortissimo and back, with the emphasis on the former and not the latter. It was not a “power trio”, but three musicians playing together at an easy and communicative level (one could even talk to one’s neighbors, if so inclined) that transcended the ordinary. Hey, folks, it’s possible to grab an audience without turning it all up to eleven! If you’ve not experienced Eugene before, what are you waiting for? He’s a treasure.
PETER B. LOWRY
pub: THE BLUES TIMES; #228; Mar 2012, p. 10.