Mick Harvey at NGV Friday Nights

NGV was bustling with people for ‘Friday Nights at NGV’.

The spherically compacted Volkswagen was first to hit the eye, then the mirror maze lured us in. This impressive piece wonderfully distorts reality and is great to check out before (and after) a glass of wine!  From there we were free to explore ‘Degas: A New Vision’ at our own pace, or join a free guided tour. There was also a short talk and classical guitar recital to give an insight into Degas’ work and the Spanish music scene in Paris at the time.

The Degas exhibition is an interesting mix of works, ranging from large oil paintings to sketches. It’s fascinating to see the variation in medium, subject, and level of detail and realism in Degas’ work. In addition, multiple versions of the same figure are hung together to show Degas’ work in progress.

To complement the exhibition, Parisian gypsy swing band, La Mauvaise Réputation, were playing in the Great Hall while the kitchen filled out for dinner and drinks. The energetic four-piece did a great job of creating a lively atmosphere and getting toes tapping before the main act of the night: Mick Harvey.

Mick, probably best known as co-founder and guitarist of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (indeed, there was a lot of leather and at least one person decked out in Nick Cave merchandise), performed with his full band: five members in total covering guitar, bass, drums, keys, percussion, accordion, and vocals. They were joined by three additional female vocalists and four string players.

The hour-long set started with some slower tracks, which wove music with leisurely vocals – almost spoken word at times. The pace gradually picked up and by the end, the jangly guitar had the Great Hall full of nodding heads.

Both bands played under a huge screen that was constantly scrolling upwards and changing between Degas pieces. A lovely reminder of the setting and other art on show for the event.

– Lucie
Lucie Bradley is a scientist, communicator, and co-founder of Laneway Learning. You can keep up with her through @lucie_bee.

Friday Nights at NGV’ runs for two more weeks: 9 and 16 September, at the National Gallery of Victoria.
NGV is wheelchair accessible.
You can check out Mick Harvey and La Mauvaise Réputation online.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of ‘Friday Nights at NGV’.