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The Black Sorrows www.therockpit.ner review 2011 The Quarry



The Quarry again proves to be a great venue on what is a wonderful night in Perth’s early summer. Tonight it’s the turn though of two great Australian Rock Music legends in Ross Wilson and Joe Camilleri. The second of two nights this lineups has performed at the venue it’s great to see we are at capacity again. The crowd may be a little older than for Abbe May and Tim Rogers earlier in the week and there may be a few more bottles of wine being consumed but you can’t go past the atmosphere and anticipation of the respectful and well-dressed crowd.




 ross wilson the quarry 2011


Ross Wilson may well be one of Australian’ rock’s icons, an ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and member of the award winning Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock back in the day but unless you grew up with all of that and have rather well-tinted glasses of a certain colour on tonight’s performance there is very little you can say except that the rather nostalgic crowd loved it and the band were pretty much note-perfect.



As a performer Ross Wilson is a little boring to be honest. Like Dad-dancing at a wedding it’s a little embarrassing, though bearable, and hearing some of these songs for the first time I leave feeling pretty underwhelmed in the main.



A lot of the songs, especially those from what I’m guessing are the early eighties are pretty insipid, there’s the expected keyboard sounds that date that vintage so effectively and the white-funk without too much soul that made stars of some pretty average bands in that era. Still I’m always more than happy to report when I’m in a minority and the very ‘clean’ and rather soulless sound of some undoubtedly great players has the middle-aged crowd more than happy to dole out their polite applause between a crisp glass or two of white.



Ross mentions something about ‘Countdown’ at some point and plays a few songs by Mondo Rock that make me wonder what rock music would sound like today of The Shadows had been the only template for guitarists… 



But it’s not a performance without redeeming factors, as I said the band was first class; and despite some rather lightweight AOR with the aforementioned horrid 80’s keys at times the spectacle of Mr Wilson’s outstretched hand with the city lights in the background make me wish we weren’t so many songs into what seemed like one of the longest sets of my life. But like I said then you hear a song like ‘I Come in Peace’ and wonder where the soul and the emotion has been hiding in what turns out to be a great bluesy country rocker?



On the posters of course Ross Wilson is ‘Mr Eagle Rock’ and I have to confess to finding that particular song to be possibly one of the most intensely awful songs I have ever heard (every country has a handful of songs like that, which everyone knows and which drip so much nostalgia that you are blinded to how bad they really are). We’’ the entire crowd disagrees and slowly start to make their way very sedately (no stampedes here!) to the side of stage  to start dancing, after the song of course the exodus is equally measured and respectful. 



By the end of the set the entire crowd is clapping along, singing the refrain and cheering for more.




 the black sorrows the quarry 2011



Interestingly I’ve never seen the Black Sorrows live, but am aware of their vast catalogue.  Joe Camilleri is another icon of Australian music. With a career that almost stretches to 50 years, Joe’s longevity in itself is impressive and tonight the only question is how do you encapsulate the essence of best of Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons and the even more famous The Black Sorrows into such a relatively short set?



With Joe Creighton on bass, Tony Floyd on drums, Claude Carranza on guitar and Atlanta Coogan on Vocals, Camilleri is joined onstage by such a wealth of talent it’s hard to put a foot wrong with the material on offer and despite the initial poor lighting that makes shooting the band one of the least enjoyable aspects of the evening it’s a mesmerizing show that couldn’t be more different from the support act. the black sorrows the quarry 2011



Sometimes you stumble across bands that you have only had the slightest appreciation of in the past who completely turn around you perceptions, and that is always one of the most rewarding aspects of seeing a live band. Tonight for me, at least, The Black Sorrows hits that nail firmly on the head. It’s not a night of ‘waiting for the big hits’ it’s the ebb and flow of the music, the rise and fall, the sound of the voice, the guitars, the setting. Everything comes together in what makes a complete experience and it appears that the crowd feels the same. There’s less of the polite applause and more of the real appreciation, more open-mouthed wonder.



Tonight the Sorrows played a real melting pot of songs:  Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, plenty of 90’s Black Sorrows and a whole heap of blues. A beautiful summer night out under the stars in Perth. 




By Mark Diggins