Mr. Brunswick Meets Mr. Reid

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By R. P. G.

 

Artists can often be pretentious, arrogant, guarded and, specifically, uncooperative when questioned. Thankfully, Pete Reid is none of those. I was greeted politely; a handshake, a drink, even an apology for the lunch he had just finished preparing. He had lost track of time which, given the man’s schedule, definitely makes sense. Stuck to the wall, I noticed the picture of a Jazz musician which may or may not have been Lee Morgan. Carrying his plate of lunch, Reid suggested we go out to the Shed, the same shed in which he will be performing for the next three nights.

Sitting with his legs crossed, Reid worked his knife and fork through the plate of toast and egg sitting in his lap. What I first mistook as anxiousness and nervousness later became what I took to be part of Reid’s overall personality, conscious of whatever theories and opinions escape his mouth and then questioning their coherence.

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Summing him up in one sentence would be doing him a disservice but if I had to, I’d say, ‘Well spoken but, more so than that, well thought out.’ And this is evident in Reid’s performance… not the part about appearing anxious or nervous, in fact, quite the contrary. On stage, Reid’s a man with a plan, a strategy. There’s a tale to be told and he’s the old man who knows the correct way to tell that tale, confident in its details and knowing when and how to deliver the conviction necessary. Which begged the question, do Reid and his on-stage persona have a lot in common?

Reid, having a history in theatre, pointed out that, even though he has created and developed an on-stage persona for himself, the man on stage still goes by the name Pete Reid. There may be distinguishable differences between the two but they are ultimately two sides of the same coin.

The artist has lived in Melbourne since the early 2000’s. He was born and raised in Tasmania and, when I asked of his musical influences, he made note of having been raised around church-going and religiousness which, songwise, lent itself to his interest in Gospel (citing Mahalia Jackson as an influence) along with Delta Blues. I told him of how I had noticed hints of Tom Waits and Nick Cave in his performances, he agreed, adding Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Captain Beefheart to what would be a long list of artists that have affected his work.

Reid played me portions of his performance. The man knows his s**t. In fact, he made mention of his want to work a room regardless of how aware he was of the fact that he was catering to only one audience member. The dude’s a true showman and displays true showmanship which, in this day and age, is an admirable attribute (even when speaking of artistry and performance).

If you haven’t experienced witnessing his performance as of yet then please clear some space in your schedule, make some time to attend Reid’s shed,  I honestly do believe Pete Reid’s ‘Songs from the Edge of the World’ will be worth its weight in talent and respectability.

 

‘The Shed’
271 Nicholson St., Brunswick East
Thursday March 12, Friday March 13 and Saturday March 14

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