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Lighthouse Keepers Final Canberra Show

The Lighthouse Keepers @ The Polish Club, Fri 3rd Feb 2012
by Kitty Sparks

It had all the trappings of a wedding reception… the wedding reception of, say, a distant relative, one with whom you are in touch once a year when sending that obligatory xmas card.

With date and location of venue firmly affixed in your mind, you arrive with slight trepidation, but as soon as you enter the venue… reminiscent of an old high school gym hall from eons ago… and confronted by a wealth of people… that trepidation, those reservations are instantly pushed to the wayside.

Ultimately you are a stranger amongst the throng, with perhaps a second degree association with one or two of the folks who linger about, but even then you can’t help acknowledge the undertones of goodwill and excitement… excitement that is waiting for someone or something to ignite a release.

And as on cue, the Lighthouse Keepers (TLK) take to the stage… the fuse is lit, and within moments a release of euphoria sweeps the room.

Though previously unfamiliar with TLK, what with being a generation too late to join them rocking the casbah of Canberra in the early 1980’s, what I had read of them, and gathered from the associated hype from local community radio station – 2xx, online local music rag BMA… not to mention the general chit chat of friends and work colleagues, meant I could not resist seeing a band who, back in the day, took on that DIY ethos, mixed it with a liberal helping of humour and crafted melodic pop songs with catch cry lyrics – their classic song, gargoyle – case to point.

A painting of Copernicus overlooked the stage, somewhat apt, as indeed TLK were the centre of this reception… it did not take long for a majority of the audience to begin bouncing around, with jangly guitar driven ‘power ring’, getting a majoirty of the masses up, letting themselves go and singing along.

Throughout their three sets (done, I imagine, so band members could interact with friends, family and fans), it was with warmth and memories past that every song was greeted – and their cover of Bo Carter’s ‘Whiskey & Gin’ was met with roaring applause as the opening chords caressed the crowd.

Of course, like any good reception, speeches were to be made… apparently a common occurrence at LHK gigs.  The honour on this occasion fell to (lead guitarist) Greg Appel’s cousin, John.

Whilst one could expect a wedding singer best man speech moment, John’s speech was short, poignant and captured the general vibe of fond memories that enveloped the room, one particular memory drawing loud guffaws when he recalled his underage shenanigans at LHK gigs, cracking onto girls, with one cracking on moment leading to a case of glandular fever.

A memorable evening.