Went to see Colin “Men At Work” Hay at The Birchmere last night–he’s supporting his new (and great) Gathering Mercury album (review here).

Let me start by saying that the opener, Chris Trapper, was way better than an opener has any right to be.  (I plan on doing a feature on him soon.)  He was so good, in fact, that I started asking myself why Colin would allow someone this good to preceed him.  I started thinking maybe Mr. Hay wouldn’t measure up.

Of course, I was wrong.  Colin Hay has a tremendous presence and a voice that booms through the room–like Van Morrison or Eddie Vedder, he can convey all kinds of moods and completely capture a crowd.  I’ve always enjoyed his studio work, but I’ve never been fortunate enough to catch him live, and what I never noticed before last night is how good his guitar work is.  Hay is extremely skillful, making complex, emotional music seem simple and easy.  It’s deceptive on his studio albums, but live you can really see the music that’s behind all of his catchy, sentimental songs.  And I mean sentimental in a good way.  Hay is comfortable expressing the love he has for his father, but never gets schmaltzy, never gets twee.

Great show–if you can get there tonight, don’t miss out….

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