Ben Ottewell @ The Bunker, 1st November ’14 – Across The Ocean

Ben Ottewell @ The Bunker, 1st November ’14

As a gentle zephyr caressed the streets of Coogee, a privileged few hunkered down in The Bunker in anticipation of a very special acoustic performance.

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An intimate venue in an eastern beaches back street seems an unlikely place to find a member of the revered Gomez, but that is precisely what was on the cards this evening. Stepping out on his lonesome was the affable and truly talented Ben Ottewell, here to seduce us on this Saturday evening.

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In the country to promote the release of his latest solo venture Rattlebag, the Englishman strolled casually from a stool in the crowd on to the stage, uttered a quick but cheerful greeting and went into Rattlebag‘s title track. With that instantly identifiable gravelly vocal floating over the crowd, he moved breezily through ‘Shapes And Shadows‘ and into ‘Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone‘, the first Gomez track of the evening getting a predictably rousing reception.

Confessing to being slightly intoxicated, we were then treated to some good natured banter regarding his kids frequent detuning of his unattended guitars. There was also a polite request to turn off the cricket on the televisions at the rear of the room because he was getting distracted by bowling averages (‘its important information, but I don’t need to know it right now.”)

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Understandably there was a heavy focus towards Rattlebag tracks as single ‘Patience And Rosaries‘ and ‘Red Dress‘ (Ottewell’s personal favourite) were lapped up with appropriate adulation. With due respect to the newer material the airing of Gomez classics in such a cosy setting was always going to be the pinnacle of the night and as the set progressed the fans got what they wanted. ‘Free To Roam‘ (“the first song I ever wrote”) and ‘How We Operate‘ wound up the set aproper prior to the inevitable demands for an encore.

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Returning sheepishly to the stage after about twenty seconds behind a curtain Ottewell ended proceedings with a sped up version of ‘Get Miles‘ and a spine tingling ‘Tijuana Lady‘. As the crowd rose to their feet he gave us a grateful wave, plonked down his guitar then promptly disappeared out the front door and into the night.

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Photos: Benon Julius William Otto Koebsch

Gavin Stocker

Gavin Stocker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Outside of Across The Ocean Gavin Stocker writes, records and performs music under the moniker of P Truck.

He can also be found clinging to his youth on a skateboard or wandering aimlessly through the bush.
Gavin Stocker