Three of us bundled into the black Mitsu-bashi, leaving the dads with the kids, work and house. We drove East into Gippsland again, past Tinytown, to an even tinier dot on the map in the swampland country on the way to Wilson’s Prom.
I was googling lyrics, and had stumbled on the amazing information that Joe Pug and Henry Wagons would be performing with Jordie Lane at the Meeniyan Town Hall on a November friday night. Did a double-take and googled some more. Yes, this is what they do in Meeniyan (“they” being the Lyrebird Arts council). They’ve had Gillian Welch there and other people of a similar calibre (Steve Earle coming up soon, but don’t bother, it’s sold out already.) It’s a musical phenomenon. Of course, we went.
Meeniyan gigs are run like a cross between a cabaret and a school trivia night; you sit at tables and are expected to bring a picnic dinner as well as BYO alcohol. We managed to get perhaps the last room going at the motel, which is nearly next door; close enough to make it carrying platters of food and eskies of booze, and to stagger back without doing an ankle afterwards.
What an unmitigated blast. And the performers had a blast, too.
The footage above isn’t from that night, but it’s from the same tour and set list. Via Flop eared Mule, who has more vids.
Henry Wagons looked out over the hall, shading his eyes, and remarked how lovely it was to see us all getting slowly, warmly, comfortably shitfaced.
Here’s another account from blogger Mikesaid, with photographs.
And here’s an absolute charmer of a video of Henry Wagons interviewing Joe Pug over a game of pool. I especially like his (Pug’s) comments from around 2:30 about how Melbourne Rules, OK. “People are just into the music. I suppose every town’s different, but this one’s special.” And that should include South Gippsland as well.
Here are a couple more things you need to know about Meeniyan:
In between sellout concerts with first-rate Australian and international musicians, there might be the occasional hiatus with not enough to do. In that case, you need to call Maria.
Meeniyan is on the Great Southern Rail Trail, if you feel like a walk, or if you’ve brought your bicycle or horse. If you’re on your bike and you have a dog, you’re encouraged to carry the dog in the bike basket.