As part of this year’s Fringe World, Acoustic Sessions at Fremantle Church will bring stripped-back performances from WA artists to a beautifully unique performance space.
“The church space is 125 years old,” explain organiser, Andy Shadburne. “It's very intimate. It's got a great, older Fremantle vibe about it. I get to play and sing in there each week with my work and also it's where the band I'm in rehearses and writes songs and we all love it. I sometimes have to pinch myself that I have that opportunity.
“I'm excited to see how other musos respond to it. I love that we're opening it up to the community and having artists come in and perform. So much of our message as a church is centred on loving each other and our neighbour and this is a very practical way we can do it.”
The line-up was curated by Amber Hatton. Shadburne, who ran a similar series in an old chapel in St. Louis, Missouri, looks forward seeing the bands to flourish in this scenario.
“I think Lincoln Mackinnon, Frank's Fish Tank (January 18), Rabbit Island (with Salary, January 20), Dan Howls (with Nika Mo, January 25), Bass Lemon (with The Hand Me Downs, January 27), Galloping Foxleys (with The Wilds, February 1) and Jack Davies (with Sara Salt, February 8) will all shine. I've seen all them perform and can imagine beautiful moments from them in this setting.
“I'll add this, I used to run a similar type of show set up in an old chapel in St. Louis, Missouri. From that experience, I can say the bands that approached it as something more than just another gig were the ones that would have these profound sets and I think the same applies to this room and concert series.”
Shadburne moved to Fremantle from the US a few years back. He has since formed The Hand Me Downs as a vocalist with guitarists Nick Sheppard and Greg Hitchcock and drummer Marz Frisina. It’s been a year of settling into and being embraced by the local music community.
“It's been a wild ride,” he says. “I saw a lot of shows in my first year here and met a lot of people. The first show I saw when I moved here was Salary at the Odd Fellow (now The Aardvark). I think that was in mid-August 2016. It was a great night - and now they're playing night two of Acoustic Sessions for Fringe! As far as getting settled into and being embraced by the local music community? That's been the best part! There is such camaraderie between the musicians living here and I enjoy walking around town and seeing folks that I see at shows.”
As for the Acoustic Sessions shows, he’s look forward to people immersing themselves in the experience.
“Our hope is that people take away the feeling of being part of a moment that's bigger than them,” Shadburne says. “And that they'll be inspired to come back to another show and see an artist that's new to them!”