TORRENTIAL rain across the Hunter on Saturday, while providing overwhelming relief from a dangerously dry summer, isn't conducive to dragging punters away from Netflix.
However, those who braved the inclement weather were treated to the warmth of a quality band in full flight.
Music listeners not versed in the happenings of Australia's alt-country scene mightn't be familiar with Melbourne's Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife, but indeed they should be.
In 2016 Canadian ex-pat McNeil released her fourth album Thieves with her four-piece The GoodLife, which won Best Country Album at The Age Music Awards that year.
The album was coloured by the death of McNeil's father and Canadian songwriter Wayne McNeil, but it reinvigorated her career.
The long-awaited follow-up You Be The Lightning will be released on Friday and comes after a tumultuous end to her marriage with Raised By Eagles frontman and former GoodLife guitarist Luke Sinclair.
But you sense McNeil has not only survived the turmoil, but actually emerged happier than ever after finding love again with GoodLife guitarist and collaborator Dan Parsons.
Saturday night's 20-song set was split across three parts, which was amazingly free of charge. In between the band mingled with punters.
It gave McNeil ample time to road test You Be The Lightning plus popular cuts from Thieves.
It quickly came apparent that the new material sat more than comfortably among the most popular moments on Thieves like Middle Of The Night and Paradise.
McNeil is a quality songwriter, but her tracks were propelled to new heights in the hands of The GoodLife's Parsons (guitar), Bree Hartley (drums), Brendan McMahon (keyboards) and Craig Kelly (bass).
Are were incredibly tight. Hartley, McMahon and Kelly provided the consistent and reliable backbone for Parsons to colour the songs with his epic six-string flourishes.
Parsons' solos on Little Relief and Paradise were stunning and brought hearty applause from the small, but appreciative audience.
Despite back-to-back nights at Marrickville Bowling Club and Maitland's Grand Junction Hotel in the lead-up which led to a croaky speaking voice between songs, McNeil's vocal maintained its warmth and slight twang.
Of the new tracks, Highway Girl was a soaring way to open the third set. If you ever wondered what "cosmic country" is supposed to sound like, look this track up.
Catch You was another to impress and it carries the new record's hookiest chorus.
McNeil is never afraid to wear her influences proudly. She's an obvious fan of the '70s US West Coast rock country scene popularised by the likes of The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.
But her songwriting also carries an extra dose of grittiness, reminiscent of US alt-country queen Lucinda Williams.
So it was no surprise Williams' magnificent Drunken Angel from her classic album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road was peeled off as the night's sole cover.
McNeil's version was sweeter and more refined than the original, but The GoodLife captured the tenderness of Williams' performance.
Any local musician will tell you the Stag and Hunter has arguably the best sound in Newcastle.
It's also perfect for serious music listeners, with ample tables to sit and nurse a beer or wine around it's L-shaped bar room.
"This is a great room," McNeil said. "You're lucky to have it."
Indeed, everyone at the Stag on Saturday night was also lucky to have heard Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife.