Jim Ward At The East Brunswick Club
When Jim Ward toured Australia with At The Drive-In in 2001, he befriended a pre-Bono Chris Martin, also here on the Big Day Out tour. There was even talk of a side-project between the two, boggling the mind as to what sort of sound the then two polar opposites could come up with. Ward has since toured with Coldplay in another of his post-ATDI bands, Sleepercar, and moved slowly away from the thrashing and discordant sounds of ATDI and Sparta to a more gentle, countrified sound. What's more, Ward and Martin share an unassuming stage persona; self-deprecating, charming and wholly engaging.
In Sparta and ATDI, Ward's voice would at times resemble a strangled cat, so what started out as quite a limited range has now become a great throaty timbre, evolving into something subtle and beautiful. At times tonight you could hear a pin drop (or even, an empty stubby being thrown into a bin), as the dedicated stood motionless, gasping enthralled by their indie rock hero. Frequently he'd step away from the mic to sing across the heads of the audience, enticing impassioned sing-alongs from the emos packed in down the front. He covered songs from across his career, with Sleepercar, Sparta and Jim Ward favourites all getting an airing. He told stories about his wife, and reminded us to tell our bros that we love them, as he dedicated a song to cousin Jeremy Ward, who ODed after the two had lost contact and Jeremy went off to play with Mars Volta. It's always a gamble to see an artist perform solo, as many struggle to keep an audience engaged with just an acoustic for any length of time. But as you may have guessed, Ward is painfully sincere, vulnerable, and generally excited by life, so it's really no surprise the command he had over the audience for this, "the biggest show people have paid money to see". It's also given new appreciation to his work in ATDI. As Cedric and Omar continue to wank their jazz-jizz in our faces, it now appears that Ward was the melodic glue that held ATDI together and gave everything purpose and direction. I for one can't wait for December, when Ward promises to return to play these songs with a full band.
Loved: Our Town , Jim's ode to El Paso.
Hated: Myself, And I Want To Die.
Drank: Beer, cider (repeat to fade).
By Nick Hilton