Early dinner Sunday night suggests the chance to tuck the kidlets into bed nice and early so they can wake refreshed for a great start to the week. Usually that’s how it would be in my house too, but not tonight.
Tonight an early Sunday night dinner meant getting everyone fed and organised for a surprise adventure.
My children are true little rock kids, and I absolutely love that about them. I have a video of them from a couple of years back where they did a ‘rock show’ to One Of A Kind off the first EMPRA EP. Since then they have listened to both CDs regularly, by request. Miss Very Nearly 11 knows every word of every track and belts them out top volume, even Mr Just Gone 6 can sing quite a few of the songs almost word perfect. I will admit I was considering putting the video here but I think I might get shot by the aforementioned little miss so perhaps I shouldn’t.
Every time EMPRA come to town we are forced to explain, again, that we can’t take the kids to see them because they play venues for over 18’s. And every time we are told to ask the band to play an All Ages gig.
Tonight was not All Ages but it was an Acoustic set on a Sunday evening. I thought that was probably as close as we were going to get at this point and being an earlier set we were able to have children in the venue until 8. Lucky for us the EMPRA set finished at 8.
So we set off for an evening adventure, telling the kids nothing. We get into Adelaide, park and walk across to the Grace Emily Hotel. Standing at the door Miss VN11 says, Are we going here? But this is a pub Mummy. Yes darling but that’s ok. And Miss VN11 catches sight of the blackboard on the wall and starts reading as we wait to head inside. She’s reading, and reading, and then the giggles start. She turns to me wide-mouthed and just stares…. are we…. I couldn’t help but smile back at her and the giggles erupted. BEST SURPRISE EVER!
I have never seen EMPRA play an acoustic set and I was definitely intrigued going in. They are an extremely energetic and raucous band to see live so I wasn’t sure how they would go toning that down for an acoustic set.
The set was fantastic. The Grace Emily is quite an intimate venue, I had to hang out up the back because I had very little ears to protect but Miss VN11 was front row centre for the whole set, singing along the entire time.
Adelaide was treated to a three show weekend by the boys from EMPRA. They played Nevrland @ The Light Hotel Friday night before the Promethean on Saturday and rounding it out with the Grace Emily Sunday. Friday and Saturday night were rock sets with the full band, the very last two shows with drummer Matt Cattanach who has now left the band. We would like to wish him all the best with his future and are very sad not to have caught him this trip. Unfortunately work commitments kept us away from both rock sets.
What can I say about the acoustic set… knowing how high energy they are it was very different to see them seated on the stage and relatively still. I did notice that effervescence was barely contained at times and even in this set Sanny entered the audience with his mike stand for a sing-along, encouraging my cherubs to really belt out their favourite line of Only Love.
The setlist was quite a good mix of new stuff and favourites, and it was quite a flexible setlist – one of those that they kind of made up as they went along and I thought that was fantastic. I requested they play the beautiful ballad Sabrina because I thought it would be well suited to the venue and an acoustic set and I think I was right. I loved hearing this live and I know it’s not something I am likely to hear live again, it’s not a song they usually play.
First up was Doesn’t Make Much Sense, the first single from the first EP, other well known tracks were Strange Condition, The Chronicles of Office Politics and Sabrina. Catchy new tracks were Rebecca, Standing in the Gutter and one that I didn’t catch the name of but was written for Sanny’s mum. I enjoyed the new tracks and look forward to owning them on CD but my favourite is the song for Sanny’s mum. A heartfelt and beautiful tribute to one of the most important relationships you will ever have in life.
There were definite moments where it almost seemed that Sanny forgot this was an acoustic set and his rock vocals shone through loud and clear, and we absolutely loved it. I Won’t Give Up was the last song of the night and the volume certainly rose for that one which is just fine because Mr JG6 and I were in the back row with the baby belting out the lyrics along with Sanny.
The bass player is a little underworked in an acoustic set but EMPRA bassist Matt Agius still took his place on stage and gave great backing vocals. Matt Gault was fantastic on guitar, gave great backing vocals and provided the beat using his hand on the side of his guitar.
Acoustic or rock EMPRA are an entertaining and energetic band of all round nice guys. We chatted with them both before and after the set and they were nice enough to let us get photos of them with the kids before they head back home to Melbourne tonight. I hope they have a safe and uneventful trip home.
EMPRA assure me they will be back in Adelaide in the near future and I will definitely be getting along to another show. I am really looking forward to checking out the new drummer.