Perfect Night Out

Perfect Night Out
Perfect Night Out

On the way out of work tonight I was asked what I was doing tonight. “Well, I’m going to see some live music, and to have dinner at Snakebean?”. “Where’s that?”, I was asked. “Actually, it’s in possibly the most perfect location for a good night out”, I replied, “it’s located between a bottle shop and a sex shop”. Of course, I was joking, it’s not in the middle of them, it’s to the side!

As usual, the meal we had tonight at Snakebean was excellent. While Damien looked through the menu, I went to the bottle shop next door and chose some Little Creatures Pilsener from Western Australia. With lovely reminders of the brewery at Fremantle, I was attracted to the beer for sheer sentimental reasons. As it turned out, the sweetness of the beer was the perfect accompaniment for the meal Damien chose, which was rice paper rolls, spring rolls and the red duck curry with rice. Two entrees, a main, and some rice set us back $25 in total, and was just the right amount of food. As we enjoyed the meal, we wondered about the secret of their success. Great tasting food at good prices: was it low overheads or high throuput? Whatever it is, let’s hope they continue to enjoy success.

After that we wandered up the road to the recently opened Will and Toby’s at Taylor Square. As we both had memories of the legendary Gilligan’s cocktail bar, we were keen to see the refurbishment. As in the old days of Gilligan’s, the stairs are just as trippy, though I suspect it’s more the glass tiles than the Long Island Iced Teas that made us feel that way as we walked up the stairs.


As you enter the bar, your eyes are immediately drawn to the stage and the split level bar, which puts it in stark contrast to the old days. And also in stark contrast, we shared a bottle of red wine instead of a “girly drink”. In common with the old days, however, you can still look out the window to see who is lining up at Stonewall. Lots of smokers, I see.

To be honest, we were probably more interested in seeing the venue than in the performer, Eran (pronounced Iran) James. We both had some familiarity with his work – Damien commented that he’d a few of his songs on the radio before without knowing it was him – though we had only a passing interest in his style of music. As we looked around the room, I decided the crowd was “very Mix 106.5”.

Unfortunately, the crowd was also very rude, as a significant number of people continued to talk – quite loudly – while he sang. You could see the strained look on his face, and the between-the-lines comments, told us he was a little disappointed with how they’d reacted. Although at one point someone shouted, asking the crowd to “shut up”, they continued to speak as if he was some kind of “background singer”.

Eran James at Will & Toby's Darlinghurst
Eran James at Will & Toby’s Darlinghurst

Although at time I thought he was channelling John Farnham, and although at times the music was a little bland, bordering on karaoke, he’s very very good. Without wishing to damn him with feint praise, he’s a tremendously talented 18 year old. Had he entered Australian Idol, he would have won hands-down.

With time and maturity, I think he’ll be a terrific interpreter of other people’s work. But at the moment, there’s a little of the r’n’b warble which seems to portray emotion, but which doesn’t. He also just doesn’t “get” some songs. For example, his interpretation of “Jealous Guy” mistook the raw admission of the song for a defiant declaration. That said, I had goose bumps when he sang Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”. He seemed to really understand that song and it showed.

I hope he gets good career advice along the way.

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