Another piece of Chocolate Cake

My Friend The Chocolate Cake

Venue: Newport Substation

Friday, October 7.

Review by Darren Dawson 

Almost since their inception, My Friend The Chocolate Cake have been favourites of my wife and I. We first saw the Cake at the Universal in Fitzroy in the early 90’s, a memorable occasion during which Archie Roach and the late Ruby Hunter opened for them, and then later joined the band on stage for some joyous sing-alongs. We have subsequently seen them many times. One could be forgiven for thinking that any band which has been around for two decades might be beginning to show signs of old age, but MFTCC delivered a wonderfully impressive show at the Newport Substation last Friday night.

Opening with the poignant “Centre Cannot Hold” from the recently-released album “Fiasco”, front-man David Bridie was in fine voice, and good humour, from the outset. He was an engaging presence on stage, swapping banter with drummer . The Cake played plenty of numbers from the new album, with which I suspect many of the audience were unfamiliar, as the warmest applause was reserved for the older standards such as “A Midlife’s Tale” and “I’ve Got A Plan”. An early highlight was the instrumental “Jimmy Stynes”, from 1994’s “Brood”, which was introduced as a tribute to the ailing Demons president. The venue allowed the crowd to maintain a relaxed vibe, and Bridie at one stage commented on the suitability old railway building’s “industrial” feel.  

During the short intermission, my wife expressed the hope that the tracks might tend to the more upbeat in the second half of proceedings. And wouldn’t you know it? The band delivered in spades. The second half included plenty of rollicking tunes, led by “Lighthouse Keeper”. I was pleasantly surprised by how strong and clear Bridie’s voice sounded throughout the show. And the rest of the band? Well, they continue to be at the top of their game: tight, versatile, and still obviously delighting in each other’s company after all these years. Cellist Helen Mountford and violinist Hope Csutoros must have played together thousands of times in rehearsals, jams and shows, but give the appearance that they are in awe of each other’s musical skills. (This punter certainly continues to be). Concluding with an encore of five tunes, the Cake were onstage for the best part of two hours.

My Friend The Chocolate Cake continue to be a peerless live act. This was a confident band in peak form. They remain firm favourites with my wife and I. Long may they continue into middle-age and beyond!    


Disclaimer: David Bridie and I played cricket together for the Almanac XI, but that remains the only time I have met him. And whilst being a handy medium-pacer, it is his musical skills I admire most.   

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Sounds like it was a great show, Smokie.

    I think it’s worth mentioning that David’s skills with the bat weren’t bad either, on that day last Summer. I still remember his lofted on-drive as the shot of the day.

  2. Andrew Fithall says

    An excellent report Smokie, on an event I was sorry to have to miss. The Substation is a good venue, although the seating arrangement can be a bit formal for my liking. But with plenty of good-viewing standing room behind the seats… and near the bar, it works well.

    “The Cake” as you so lovingly refer to them, will be at Queenscliff Music Festival the last weekend in November. I plan to be there.


  3. Dips,
    Thanks Dips. They are sounding as good as ever.
    I had actually forgotten David’s willow-weilding. Thanks for reminding me.
    The accoustics were actually much better than I had hoped. The sound was excellent.
    The seating was actually very informal. Chairs arranged around the small coffee-tables
    with no real system. But it worked well.
    I am aware of Queenscliff….

  4. John Butler says


    Is that the gig you missed while hiding from the GF? :)

    Great work Smokie.

    The substation, a Western suburbs Continental?

  5. Smokie, you have committed a Daffey-ism and called me Dips.

    I would never have run a place in the Stawell Gift.


  6. John Butler says

    Neither did Dips. :)

  7. John Butler says


    Just checked this.

    I stand corrected.

  8. Peter Flynn says

    3rd in ’84

  9. John Butler says

    Flynny, for some reason I remembered it as 4th.

  10. Peter Flynn says

    Don’t worry JB,

    I’m losing synaptic connections at a faster rate than most punters.

  11. Hey Smokie, had never heard of MFTCC, but just checked Lighthouse Keeper out on YouTube. Great feel, easy listening. Thanks for broadening my musical horizons. Gotta love technology.

  12. Andrew Fithall says


    This Sunday afternoon Jeff Lang is at the Williamstown RSL. Supports are Jordie Lane and Suzannah Espie. All three acts are worth seeing. Planning to be there.

  13. JB – ‘three’ is an important number in my life – 3rd at Stawell, have three kids, am the third child of six, live at number eightyTHREE, am three feet tall, ……………..oh yes, and the Cats have 3 flags!!!!

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