LIVE: DAVE WARNER & MENTAL AS ANYTHING – Fremantle, 18 March, 2017
Fly By Night Club, Fremantle
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Dave Warner returned to the stages of his hometown repeatedly over recent years, but this time he has properly reconvened his From The Suburbs band and comes bearing the gifts of new songs from When, his first album in 25 years – the first for The Suburbs in 35 years!
Local legend Warner only had an hour or so to cram as much in as possible, so alongside a handful of new tracks it was a selective cherry pick of favourites from his back pages, focussing on punchier, shorter songs such as Car Park, Girls Wank, the perennial Convict Streak and Kangaroo Hop, rather than the hilarious satire of rambling narratives which helped make his name.
New songs I’m On Facebook (But Where’s My Friends)? and Snapchat slot into the set perfectly, their instant catchiness, scathing social commentary and hilarious lyrics a Warner stock-in-trade. Lonely Sailor – a sad and forlorn paen to loneliness featuring Mental As Anything’s Greedy Smith on harmonica – and the dream-like near-muzak of Last Night Jim Morisson Came To My Window are mellower, and take a little more familiarity. We Want A Kid – a punk blast satirising vacuous yuppies pretentiously accessorising with a child for perks rather than love – is another instant favourite to the packed crowd, and the merch stand does a brisk trade before and after the show.
Warner’s everlasting appeal revolves around all the above, and the relentless exploration of the Australian identity, and Boy From Bicton, Nothing To Lose and Suburban Boy – all crowd favourites for thirty five-plus years – all go down a storm. An unexpected encore of one of those afore-mentioned monologues, Half Time At The Football, is another treat, with Warner rewriting the lyrics to be topical today, as he has done frequently in the past.
After that powerhouse set, Mental As Anything have a challenge ahead of them, and worked hard to deliver as fun a show as their support act. With frontman Martin Plaza at home battling cancer, and only Smith left from the glory days, it’s not quite the same.
Greedy and co do their best in difficult circumstances – and having them here is better than not. Too Many Times, a bouncy Spirit Got Lost, I Didn’t Mean To Be Mean, If You Leave Me Can I Come To and The Nips Are Getting Bigger are all great to hear, but somehow have more of a cover band feel with Greedy singing Plaza’s parts. Only Live It Up – which was written and sung by Greedy in 1985, and constituted The Mentals’ only real international hit – really reaches the heights we’d hoped for from them. Here’s wishing Plaza a speedy recovery.
Filed Under: Live Reviews
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