Dyson Stringer Cloher | Live at Howler

There is one thing I love. A goddamn good rock show. No muss, no fuss, just rockin’ your socks and sandals. Well last Saturday night at Howler, that’s exactly what I got. Those goddesses of rock, Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer and Jen Cloher (otherwise known as Dyson, Stringer, Cloher or ‘DSC’ as they joked) joined forces once again to remind us that there ain’t nothin’ like live music, kids.

One look at the stage and you knew it was going to be all about the music. It was simple and without a single ounce of pretension. The gear looked like it belonged to the ultimate road dogs, a bit old school, a bit weathered, a bit awesome. And it was a good fit. The trio had played a gig in South Gippsland the previous evening, Dyson and Stringer played Meredith earlier that day, and Cloher was due to play Meredith the following day.

The three women, with their support musicians (drums and bass), absolutely ripped through a sensational, energetic and dynamic fifteen song set and three song encore, offering up a mix of songs from each of the three’s solo material as well as the Dyson Stringer Cloher EP. They even threw in a brilliant cover of the Oil’s classic, King of the Mountain for good measure.

The set began with Dyson’s When We’re Older from 2014’s Idyllwild. It was obvious from Dyson’s first stroke on her guitar that we were in for a good night. Next up was Cloher’s Mothers Desk, then Stringer’s In Anybody’s Language. The trio continued to trade songs, vocals and guitar (with Stringer also playing keys) throughout the set.

And the congregation rejoiced! Dyson, Stringer and Cloher are true entertainers. Not only with their masterful musicianship, but in making it an engaging experience for their audience. Each injected their own humour and personality into the interaction with the crowd and each other. It was clear from this, that the three of them have absolute respect for each other as musicians and human beings, and that they love playing together. This only added to the already palpable energy in the room and maybe explains why their heavenly harmonies were one of my favourite parts of the evening.

The performances of all three were outstanding, but the guitar work of Dyson and Stringer was spectacular. Forget Robert Johnson, I’m pretty sure it was Mia Dyson and Liz Stringer who sold their souls at the crossroads. Dyson was totally ripping through the solos, but with an economy of movement reminiscent of the seemingly effortless style of someone like Robert Cray. And Stringer…well she just made those strings her bitch.

Each of the women contributed a song to the encore including a rockin’ live version of Idyllwild from Dyson. But the highlight of the evening for me was the final encore song, Cloher’s Hold My Hand. A song written about her parents and the recounting of their courting story by her father to her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s. Thank you Jen Cloher for not only sharing that incredibly personal story with your audience, but for also giving us Hold My Hand. I had goosebumps the whole way through, and if I’m honest, maybe even a little tear. Cloher, that song is something else, man!

The trio did hint that there may be more to come from this project and I seriously hope there is. My fellow ‘DSC’ devotee summed up the night perfectly when she screamed out “ROCK AND ROLL!” Amen sister, a-fuckin’-men.

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