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The Stars Align, A Jack Ladder Stan's Account Of His Melbourne Reunion With The Dreamlanders



JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS, CONG JOSIE

FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2024

THE HOWLER, MELBOURNE


In a world where Swift tickets are costing a small fortune, a sound investment was made in pure musical pleasure for my ears by way of a ticket to Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders.


Cong Josie are the supporting act and deliver an interesting performance that makes my unsuspecting guest ask me “what kind of show I had brought her to.” Cong’s music has previously been described by Shaad D’Souza for Pitchfork as “gleefully ridiculous no wave pastiche held together by flamboyance and a predilection for showmanship,” and this is no exception. Having listened to a couple of interviews with Tim Rogers (the genius behind the persona Jack Ladder) I clocked his disdain for anything generic or boring, so this energetic starting act makes perfect sense to me, if not to my guest.


With seven albums under his belt, Rogers is a seasoned professional, albeit a perennially underrated and hardworking one. He has recently opened for The Killers, Weyes Blood, The Lemon Twigs and toured his own most recent album, Tall Pop Syndrome last year in Europe and Australia. To see him commanding the stage supported by his Dreamlanders (Donny Benet, Laurence Pike, Kirin J Callinan, Neal Sutherland) again is heartwarming and feels like an absolute steal at $40 a ticket. Donny and Kirin are currently touring their own ventures presently. At one point, Ladder encourages the excited screams of an overly zealous Donny fan commenting “yes ladies and gentlemen, Donny Benet.” A sense of delighted camaraderie radiates from the experts on the stage and spread to the very back of the auditorium, likely because the band is literally back together, something that hasn’t occurred since 2021. The moshtix ticket description accurately noted “once in a blue moon the stars align, and we have what is astronomically referred to as a “planetary parade.”


Ladder’s set delivered a glorious mix of highlights from his illustrious collection with a slight focus on Playmates which reaches its 10-year anniversary in 2024. That distinct and crisp riff which announces arguably the most cherished of Ladder’s repertoire, 'Cold Feet' rings out and closes the show leaving a slight pang in the heart at the realisation that the delicious ghostly maladies of 'Susan' had not yet graced us with her presence. Thankfully, this pain is short lived as the encore teases and slowly bubbles into that subtle dance beat which eventually crescendos delightfully at every chorus. This is followed by the rambunctious 'Barber’s Son' which is enthusiastically delivered and is equally as enjoyable.


While Mr Jack Ladder is an enigmatic master on the stage, if you get the chance to speak to Mr Tim Rogers you will most certainly encounter a gentle giant who is surprisingly humble and always happy to connect with fans. He once gifted me Hijack socks when I was talking to him at his merch desk after a performance when I admitted I had accidentally left my wallet in my car. I may have proceeded to ask him if he sells socks because he gets “cold feet.” Friday’s performance was at least the fifth Jack Ladder performance I have had the pleasure of attending. It is the absolute certainty of great crowd banter, masterful delivery and a beautiful baritone voice that keep fans like me returning to the Ladder shows, as well as a desire to support someone who feels incredibly committed and authentic in their artistry.


Discovering Jack Ladder is like finding a rare treasure that you can't help but feel more people should know about. Chatting to his loyal fans at concerts always ends up in a freindly and sublte who is the bigger Jack Ladder fan competition. Witnessing this charming gentleman perform solo or in his element alongside some of his dearest friends is something I hope to have the chance to see again sooner rather than later.











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