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Van Larkins

Australian Musician and the Melbourne Guitar Show in conjunction with the Australian production team behind the acclaimed music documentary Acoustic Uprising, supported by the Australian Music Association and NAMM launched the first Melbourne International Guitar Night last night at the Toff in Town. Greg Phillips reports

The large opening night audience enjoyed wonderful performances from Janine Marshall, Van Larkins, Malcura, and Thomas Leeb. Marshall opened proceedings with a mix of originals and covers, owning the stage and displaying a command of her instrument. A highlight was her stunning version of The Doobie Brothers’ hit, What A Fool Believes with an inventive take on the song’s instrumental parts.

Brisbane based composer, Van Larkins opened his set bravely with a beautifully melodic, instrumental version of John Farnham’s You’re The Voice. Larkins, who heads to Nashville for performances next week, not only showcased his ample fingerstyle skills but also paraded his songwriting talent with fabulous versions of self-penned tunes such as Orion and Cold Fusion (See his performance below). Clearly Larkins was enjoying himself too, a vibe which was reflected back to him by the audience.

Melbourne based trio Malcura hit the stage next. Billed as ‘heavy flamenco’, it was more their gypsy flavours which really connected with the crowd. With Josh Voce on lead guitar and Steven Angell taking on more of a rhythm role, the huge sound this trio creates, really comes into full force once drummer and engine driver Simon Wood kicks in. Malcura is an emerging Melbourne act you don’t want to miss.

Californian based, Austrian-bred headliner Thomas Leeb finished up the evening with his amiable stage patter and an incredibly delicate touch on the fretboard. His mastery of harmonics tonight was something to treasure.

Many of the performers tonight including Larkins, Malcura and headliner Leeb played at The Melbourne Guitar Show and also toured together in a mini MIGN roadshow before this gig, so it’s not surprising there was a sense of bonding between the musicians. Show curator Drew Roller has done a fabulous job in putting together these shows with a mix of artists that really click. In one final encore, Leeb and Larkins came together off stage but in front of the crowd to perform a heartfelt farewell tune.

The grand plan for the Melbourne International Guitar Night is to become a leading destination for guitar music of all kinds in Australia and a place for international acts to come and perform. It will also be a great forum to foster and develop new guitar talent. Stay tuned for news on the next Melbourne International Guitar Night.

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