“It’s upstairs……on level three…”.
….We took a quick right out of the lift, already late and stepping into a bar where a large gathering stood. Excusing our ridiculously hurried passing, I caught only a glimpse of the man that stood aside. It was his shoes that I later connected to the man who took to the stage. Despite being late, to much delight, we had missed nothing.
Perhaps we were alone in thinking the Folk-Rock Aussies, Boy and Bear, were the only act of the night, so when the host introduced us to a first act; a singer-songwriter with hopes and dreams and a guitar strapped to his back, the not so ‘Secret Session’ gig took a very interesting turn for us.
A very unassuming, humble chap, Roo Panes treated us to a solo performance, which displayed his strength of voice. Beguiling romantic poetry was delivered to a room of a silent and awed audience. “Thank you for being so quiet” Roo addressed us softly, “no, truly, it’s really lovely”.
It really makes it when the audience are attentive, but it must in no doubt accentuate the pressure, especially when there is no band to be lost to. Although we could all see how natural the songs were suited to an solo-acoustic setting. In character, charismatic, and musically, a pensive wordsmith with a real mythological warmth about him, and wholly deserving of a longer set.
When listening to his music you will discover that you cannot help but find yourself studying the beauty in even the very simplest and smallest of things, at the point of performing ‘Indigo Home’ I remember noticing the indigo lights from above paying his complements. There was an earthy connection in between songs, when introducing ‘Ran Before the Storm’, we were told that it was when he “was in a really bad mood.. and went on a very long walk up the hill..during a storm…but there’s some metaphors in there as well”.
Roo drew to a close with his new single: ‘The Original’ which was a beautiful insight into what to expect from upcoming album ‘Paperweights’, released on February 12th 2016.
I may be late to discover Roo Panes, but, as the night revealed, it is better to be late than never.
Words by Rachael Crabtree
Image; ‘Paperweights’ album artwork by Illustrator, Lucy Panes