Playing against a backdrop of snow capped mountains, Dustin Tebbutt captured the minds and bodies of his listeners this past Friday night, thrusting them into a mystical universe where snow constantly falls, and floors in venues aren’t sticky. With three EP’s behind him, Tebbutt is emerging as one of those Australian artists to keep an eye on, reminiscent of Icelandic folk such as Sigur Ros or Asgeir, but with an undeniable Australian twang.
A notable crowd gathered at The Factory Theatre, nonchalantly sitting on the floor as they eagerly awaited the man himself. His arrival on stage was met with applause, the crowd bracing their senses for a mesmerising experience. I can’t help but think that it might have been more suitable to construct a pillow fort and have everyone lie in it, appreciating his hypnotic melodies as they would fall in and out of sleep.
Regardless of the impracticality that said fort would encounter, Tebbutt still relentlessly commanded the attention of the audience, producing experimental versions of many of his well-known tracks, such as “Where I Find You” and “Bones”. This really worked for him as his inner sound-nerd had a chance to flourish; at one point, Tebbutt sung his melodies into the body of his acoustic guitar, creating an atmospheric and complex approach to an otherwise simple song.
The crowd however, seemed to not be persuaded by his performance, remaining lifeless until the familiar opening cords of The Breach started playing. The rowdy group behind me kept yelling out ‘DUSTY’ intermittently, wolf-whistling him in a way that just made the whole experience really awkward and unnerving. I can’t criticise old Dusty for having dickhead fans though – I think that comes naturally from having a Triple J Hottest 100 hit. Tebbutt wasn’t exactly assisting with crowd engagement however, as his attempts to reel his fans in with awkward stories had people shouting for the next song, rather than being endeared by his presence.
Overall, Dustin Tebbutt has reiterated that he is just as relevant as he was two years ago, when The Breach EP was released. His new short album Home,having at #34 on the ARIA Album Charts this week proves that Australia is still not tired of Aussie-Icelandic folk music. There ain’t no mountain he can’t climb.