Music from the Home Front: Old favourites lift spirits

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Organised in a little more than a week, this event functions as a double-duty “paying homage” event due to its broadcast on Anzac Day, James Morrison kicking off proceedings with a solemn delivery of The Last Post.

We're all in this together: Ben Lee performs in Music From the Home Front

We’re all in this together: Ben Lee performs in Music From the Home FrontCredit:Nine Network

Ben Lee is the first pop-artist cab off the rank with a performance that sets the tone for what to expect: acoustic takes on well-known hits accompanied by video footage of musicians in various locales presented in a split-screen style reminiscent of the opening credits of The Brady Bunch.

As Lee sings the somewhat schmaltzy but none-more-relevant We’re All in This Together while stuck at home, we’re reminded that we are indeed all in the same boat, albeit a boat whose compartments are furnished a little fancier for those on board with multi-platinum sales under their belts.

A rapid succession of songs follows that is imprinted on every Australian’s DNA whether they like it or not.

Jimmy Barnes goes reliably red-faced for Working Class Man. National treasure Paul Kelly sings Every Day My Mother’s Voice with assistance from Jess Hitchcock.

Mark Seymour and James Reyne team up in someone’s garage for takes on their respective hits Throw Your Arms Around Me and Reckless.

Although at times it veers a little too closely to a Triple M Greatest Songs of All Time countdown, it has a decent smattering of newer artists to freshen things up.

Triple J staples such as Tones And I, Ruel, Vera Blue, The Rubens, Courtney Barnett, Jack River and G Flip all put in reliably strong performances, but it’s Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker who makes one of the stronger impressions with an acoustic version of On Track that feels positively naked next to his heavily produced recorded output.

DMA’s also make their mark with a striking cover of Crowded House’s Better Be Home Soon, singer Tommy O’Dell proving to sound more like Neil Finn than Neil Finn himself, the Kiwi legend popping up earlier in the show with Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Vance Joy lives up to his surname with an ecstatic take on his song Lay It On Me, his video featuring charming oddities such as a grinning bloke banging a plastic tub in his backyard for percussion and another gentleman providing “vibes” by using a water-filled wine glass as an instrument.

There are a few misjudged moments. Delta Goodrem and Colin Hay’s version of Down Under robs the song of its irreverent humour and replaces it with a po-faced earnestness that doesn’t work. Also, the overlay of Anzac soldier archive footage that appears while Dave Dobbyn sings his sunny ’80s hit Slice of Heaven seems tonally inappropriate.

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But as an event designed to lift spirits and remind us that, yes, we are all in this together, Music From The Home Front succeeds admirably. We may not have as many family members around us to faithfully belt out Australian classics such as When the War Is Over, as Jimmy Barnes and his brood do at the event’s conclusion, but at least there are now new ways for us to feel a little less lonely while sitting around the living room wondering what’s next.

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