Almanac Music: Live again with Died Pretty


Croxton Park Hotel, 22 April 2021

By Mick Symons


“Finally we’re here, and finally you’re there”, states frontman Ron Peno as he saunters on stage in his elegant three piece check suit.


After multiple postponements initially due to Ron’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer in February 2019, and then Covid, Died Pretty are finally back on stage in Melbourne at the Croxton Hotel.


An expectant buzz spreads through the room. People smile at familiar faces and unfamiliar ones too. Live music. Inside. Who would have thought?? Pub gigs are back. Pot or pint, the question to resolve.


Strolling through the socially distanced 40 year old plus crowd I make my way to row 2 of the COVIDSafe metal barriers. Bouncers at both ends of the stage are practising their intent stares to prevent moshing and crowd surfing but there is nothing to see here, just small groups of avid fans back to the place they love best, stage front with a beer in hand.


Died Pretty dive straight into John Hoey’s distinctive keyboards in ‘A state of graceful mourning’ – followed by an epic version of ‘Desperate Hours’ – Brett Myers’ guitar work shines through, and Ronnie‘s voice soars. The sonic wall sets off the euphoric crowd.


This leads to many fine crowd dance moves as favourite ‘DC’ makes an early appearance, and ‘Harness Up’ gets everyone’s “Heads, hearts and souls on fire”.


Ronnie keeps prancing around the stage, rarely standing still, singing with gusto as we “Breathe it up” in ‘Satisfied’ and eventually en masse we agree with Ronnie to “Live and be strong”.


Encore time brings a change of pace with a delightful sparse acoustic version of ‘Everybody moves’, and finishes with the pacy ‘Godbless’ as the audience roars the chorus cross-referencing rock and roll peers, The Sunny Boys.


On the way out I buy the obligatory t-shirt and think about singing along with Ronnie while I dry the dishes with their special lyricised tea towels – ‘DC’, ‘Godbless’, ‘Sweetheart’, and ‘Satisfied’.


A truly wonderful gig.




For more from Mick, click HERE.






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Followed Essendon down family lines since the days of Coleman. Music lover with a theory that most conversations have already been previously captured in song lyrics.


  1. John Butler says

    Mick, I haven’t been able to get enthused about gigs under Covid conditions. But if one band could tempt me, Died Pretty would be close. One of my all time favs.

    Thanks for giving me a taste.


  2. Good review Mick. It is good to be able to get back to live gigs, even with some covid restrictions. It certainly beats live streams.

  3. Was there Mick.
    Desperate Hours was epic.
    Got the t-shirt and tea towel too!


  4. Great to see live music back

  5. Mick Symons says

    Thanks John. Died Pretty consistently perform great gigs. In the meantime, their Spotify ratings need a lift.
    Greg and Smokie – there was a real communal sense of excitement listening to live music again, and being inside.
    HB – For your t-shirt – Doughboy Hollow album cover or Every Brilliant Eye??

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