Hoodoo Gurus with You Am I, The Whitlams, Dave Graney and Rainy Day Women
Evening On the Green – Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia
Saturday 16 November
Review by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Maree King
If you had suggested to the top league of 80’s and 90’s rockers that by the 2010’s they could swap the smoke-filled beer barns with sticky carpet and sweat dripping off the ceiling, for civilised evening gigs in idyllic grassy parks with picnic blankets, gourmet food and bottles of (rather overpriced) wine, they’d have called you crazy.
It’s all true though – for that generation of rock bands who flirted with the mainstream charts and retain a loyal-but-aging fanbase, the Evening On The Green gigs are the perfect way to enjoy the hits we know and love, and a few surprises as well.
It’s 37 degrees and bloody beautiful as we assume our positions in the Kings Park garden bar just as local upstarts Rainy Day Women take the stage for a hipper than thou set of fuzzy guitar pop that provides an adequate soundtrack to the incoming masses as they set up those picnic blankets and crack open the first of the evening’s wines or beers.
Dave Graney sports a white fedora and slick, very pale blue bowling slacks and a blue t-shirt as he takes the crowd on a mellow ride with his latest outfit, The MistLY. As ever, backed by long time lover, muse and drummer Clare Moore, along with Stu Thomas and Stuart Perera, they tantalise the audience with classy, dapper rock n’ roll of the highest order.
The Whitlams time comes while the sun is still above the horizon and surprisingly straight away deliver their biggest hit in No Aphrodisiacs, a great tune which gets ‘em going from the off. Tim Freedman commands the crowd from his piano stool, his songs full of lush melody, channelling a sadness that always threatens to consume his songs but never quite does.
I Flip Hamburgers is a rocking crowd pleaser, while Thankyou (For Loving Me At My Worst) and Buy Now Pay Later also saw the Kings Park crowd join in with gusto as twilight pulled itself over us and the chirping cockatoos and waddling ducks began to settle for the night. It’s a lovely, mellow, prelude to the two rockers who will close out the night’s entertainment.
The last time we saw You Am I they were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 2nd and 3rd albums in full raucous pomp and glory over two sold out nights at The Astor Theatre. Tonight the guitars are slightly muted, decidedly more ‘family friendly’, with the speed-crazed and bile-spewing vitriol absent, but Tim Rogers and Co are no less on fine form as they deliver a great mix of old and new, with a couple of unexpected guest appearances to cap the performance off.
Inviting the newly blonde Abbe May up for a run through The Pretender’s wonderful Brass In Pocket was the first treat, even if she struggled reading the lyrics off notes on the stage floor. Rogers, as cheeky as ever and as sharp a figure as always, besuited in resplendent royal red, tells the relaxed and mostly seated crowd of couples, “Whatever happens later, that’s nobody else’s business but you and your girl or boy friend or man friend. You enjoy – then call up Tim and I’ll come over and seal the deal!”
Mr Milk, Good Morning and Berlin Chair all go down a treat, with the frontman taking the opportunity for some gratuitous between-song swearing just to dirty the place up, before inviting the ever-suave Dave Graney out for a most excellent run through The Boss’s Born To Run.
Hoodoo Gurus are sounding better than ever over the past few years, and any opportunity to see them is a pleasure. Classic paisley-tinged rockers The Right Thing, Death Defying and Tojo soundtrack the crowd’s younger years, whether it was gigs in their late teens, or listening to the radio in the car or while doing the housework more recently, and the Hoodoos always know how to pace their shows to maximise energy levels and ensure smiles are on all dials by the time the last amp is turned off.
Castles In The Air is a rare slower number, as gorgeous a song as ever and testament to Dave Faulkner’s freakish songwriting talents. Miss Freelove is all 60’s jiggle, while Bittersweet and Come Anytime are singalongs joined by just about everyone present.
With songs as good as these they barely even need What’s My Scene, I Was A Kamikaze Pilot or their first hit, My Girl to seal the deal, but we got them and a swag of other’s besides before the foursome left the stage triumphantly. Good Times.
Some other stuff you might dig
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE