Pete Murray: The Cube, Campbelltown Catholic Club

Nicki Alchin
3rd Sep 2018

In the final days of Pete Murray’s Heartbeats Acoustic Tour, Sydney Scoop went out to Campbelltown to experience first-hand the vibe Pete had spoken of in his interview with me way back in July. Music lovers converged on Campbelltown’s premier entertainment venue, The Cube (located within the Catholic Club) for a night of acoustic song, backed by Pete’s legendary personality that oozes warmth and goodwill.

First up as support was a solo singer/songwriter called Matthew Armitage. He was a real bushie type from Byron way. Quite a tough gig to be a warm up as an unknown to this crowd by coming out by himself with just an acoustic guitar, a bunch of original songs and a quiet personality. He carried himself well with good humour. By the end of his 30 minute set I was thinking, yeah, this guy is not bad.

Pete followed Matthew after a fair break to allow the crowd to move in or go out for drinks as the case may have been. He started his set with one of my all-time favourites, You Pick Me Up. It was well received but in my mind it may not have been the best opener given it has some very soft heartfelt lyrics. I would have preferred Free as an opener (it did get an early run, just not as opener) as it has a strong chorus great for grabbing the full attention of the audience.

As explained by Pete back in July, the tour wasn’t pure acoustic. He was playing with two other musicians – one on electric guitar and the other on bass, and a looped drum beat. The end result being somewhere between playing with a full band with all the bells and whistles that come with that, and a solo acoustic guitar playing man. It was a good compromise.

The selection of songs on the night was perfect. None too obscure, except maybe for that song off the independent album he put out before the ground breaking 2003 album, Feeler. We saw mostly the hits and a few songs off his latest album, Camacho thrown in for those fans who are keeping up to date with all things Pete Murray. A cool version of Sold was played (I was bopping along up the front very happily to this song), and of course in the closing few songs Heartbeats, the namesake of the tour, got a guernsey. There was no other perfect way of closing than for Pete to come out and play solo the moving tragic tribute to love lost, Beautiful. As with all the ballads he presented that night, the audience sang along with gusto – jumping in without any hesitation when the guitaring and the vocals stopped to allow them to carry out the tune. Other songs that warmed the cockles and pulled on the vocal chords of his fans included Better Days, Opportunity, the upbeat and fun Always A Winner, Bail Me Out, the simply beautifully poignant Please, and the catchy plea for love Feeler to name just a few, and true to his word, we saw Pete and his co-conspirators play the super cool instrument swapping rendition of Fall Your Way.

As at the end of any superb night of music it was hard to accept it was time to leave. Pete gave his fans what they were expecting – a good sing along of his well-crafted indie guitar driven ballads and rock tunes. He spread his warmth to the crowd through his music and considered banter. I for one look forward to hearing and seeing more of Pete in these days of freedom from the music making machinery of a major label.