LIVE: SIMPLE MINDS, THE B52s, THE MODELS – Perth, 2 Feb, 2017
A Day On The Green – Kings Park Botanic Park, Perth, Western Australia
Thursday, 2 February, 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Stuart McKay
To quote The Models’ own Facebook page, A Day On The Green’s latest instalment played under “impossibly blue skies” in beautiful Kings Park Botanic Gardens on a sunny day where the temperature busted a move up to 31 degrees Celsius – a bit of a shock to the system after three days of constant rain earlier in the week.
It was a day, and a line-up, tailor-made for dancing: all three bands have a veritable cavalcade of hits and favourites up their sleeves, and as we know from many previous ADOTGs, there are few pleasures finer than hearing favourite songs played in such a salubrious location.
The reformed Models were first out of the gate, their raw sound fusing electronic punk and neo-industrial vibes that matches frontman’s Sean Kelly’s sense of humour (some might say anarchic, some might say acerbic), they lived up to their reputation as unique artists who could be spiky one moment, and pure pop the next. Hold On To What You’ve Got, Happy Birthday IBM, new song Drive Through Love, Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight and I Hear Motion all go down a treat in the bright sunlight, but it’s closer – a tribute to late member James Freud – Barbados which gets dancers on their feet.
The B52’s infectious brand of colourful pop party is a hit from the first note of Cosmic Thing, singer Fred Schneider mocking THAT Trumpbell phone call before shrugging off the serious world with a wry, “let’s forget about politics – I wish we could!” What follows is 75 minutes of tripped out psych pop celebrating the 14 February fortieth anniversary of their first ever show. Schneider cedes the stage to co-singers Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson for several tracks before quipping, “I saw a kook-er-burra, a lizard, some parakeets… and I saw a cock-or-two.” It’s an oldie but a goody, and his Georgia accent is charming enough to make it cute. Lesser known tracks Mesopotamia, Deadbeat Club, Party Out Of Bounds mingle with big hits Roam, Love Shack and – of course – Rock Lobster in all its kooky novelty glory, the packed park dancing and singing ecstatically for most of the show that you could easily have mistaken them for headliners.
Simple Minds have a tough act to follow by the time night has properly fallen, but prove they are up to the task with a slick, well-lit show that is far raunchier than on record. Not letting the hot day and balmy night affect their choice of attire, the band – founders Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill, long-time drummer Mel Gaynor, and Andy Gillespie and Ged Grimes on keys and bass – sport jeans and blazers, Kerr not removing his jacket and scarf for the entire main show.
Kerr is a charismatic frontman, active and engaging from the very start, roaming and skipping back and forth, dropping to his knees like a serpentine shaman, preaching hope and love and salvation and in great voice throughout.
Two female backing vocalists – Sarah Brown and Catherine A.D. who also contributes additional keys and acoustic guitar – are an integral part of the show, adding an edgy soulful dimension with feature spots in a handful of songs (Book Of Brilliant Things, Once Upon A Time, Alive & Kicking to great effect).
It’s a masterfully professional show that prove testament not only to their great wealth of hits, but also how unique and ubiquitous Simple Minds were in the ‘80s. Importantly, the music sounded vibrant, electric, very now rather than dated in any way. No-one sounded like them then or now, and the packed Kings Park crowd stayed on their feet for most of the nearly-two-hour show, dancing, singing, and communing with the Glaswegians.
Kerr – finally sans jacket – swaggers back for the encore wearing a broad grin. He can relax now, having won the night, and looks to be truly enjoying himself through newer track Big Music, an ecstatic and life-affirming Alive and Kicking, and even indulges in a little Dad-dancing on New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).
It’s another Day On The Green triumph that will be sure to prove difficult to beat, despite the calibre of upcoming shows, and no-one is keen to leave – even the band, as they lap up the applause after downing tools, Bowie’s Jean Genie playing loudly, Kerr and Burchill singing along and – yes – Dad-dancing again. It’s a touchingly endearing moment from a band who seemed aloof in their heyday, but who proved themselves completely in touch with their people tonight.
Set List – Simple Minds
Book of Brilliant Things
Someone Somewhere in Summertime
Hunter and the Hunted
Once Upon a Time
See the Lights
Promised You a Miracle
Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Let It All Come Down
Alive and Kicking
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Set List – The B52s
Is That You, Mo-Dean?
Dance This Mess Around
Party Out of Bounds
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE