Daryl Braithwaite Sang ‘The Horses’ At Parliament House And Oh Boy, The MPs Had A Sick One

Someone check on Jacqui Lambie.

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From the ages of 19-23, I worked at an inner-suburban Melbourne pub that was, without fail, packed wall-to-wall with its fair share of gronks each Sunday night. They spilled drinks and yelled and waved money in my face, and I spent many nights reminding myself of the penalty rates that made it all worth it.

But then at exactly 10.57pm, right before close, the sweaty angry mass converged and transformed into something great. People having dumb drunken arguments would stop halfway through their slurred words. Strangers would embrace. Everyone would close their eyes as those first soft chords descended over the bar like a lullaby, and we would all sing along.

As FasterLouder’s Lachlan Kanoniuk wrote last year in an oral history of Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘The Horses’, “it’s not so much a song, but a national institution”. “It takes less than a second of that lush, shimmering intro to invoke a multitude of emotions. Joy. Euphoria. Pride. Nostalgia. Togetherness.”

This is presumably exactly what took over the crowd in Parliament House last night. Daryl Braithwaite performed his timeless classic as part of Rock the House — an event run to “stress the importance of copyright and government support for the contemporary music industry”.

I can’t really tell you how each of the senators and MPs present (a diverse bunch from all parties and political persuasions) feel about that issue, but let me tell you this: they all bloody love ‘The Horses’.

Special shoutout to Jacqui Lambie who was pictured with her jaw on the floor and iPhone out for fan pics, and Labor MP Anne Aly who was front and centre, singing along, arms raised:

Braithwaite wasn’t the only one on stage last night. Megan Washington, Ross Wilson, Montaigne and Kav Temperley from Eskimo Joe also performed and spoke out about the challenges facing the music community. They were particularly critical of recent suggested changes to Australian copyright law that would expand the scope of ‘fair use’. The move would potentially give more slack to companies like YouTube and Facebook for sharing artists’ work without remuneration.

Late last year Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was “carefully considering” stakeholders’ views on the issue. Last night, Ross Wilson of Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock called for “bipartisan support for our cause”. “We deserve to get paid for our work, and not have big tech companies unfairly profit from our creations.”

If togetherness is what they were shooting for, Braithwaite was 100 percent the right call.

Feature image: Ricky Lloyd/APRA.