The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Angels featuring Dave Gleeson
Waiting for the Sun – tour opener
Thursday 10 November, 2011
Fly By Night Club, Fremantle



By Shane Pinnegar


A full moon hung low in the night sky as The Angels kicked off their controversial Australian tour featuring ex-Screaming Jets mainman Dave Gleeson on vocals at Fremantle’s hallowed Fly By Night Musician’s Club.


First up, local teens Tumbler proved an unlikely opener, with their Strokesey/grungey/Doorsey/Wolfmotherey sound. There’s no doubting that their insistent wall of sound demanded attention, nor any suggestion that they are without their talent or charm, but a lack of clear focus and stage experience see them fall short of the task, not to mention not being a stylistic match for the pub rock masters that are The Angels.

With an impassive Brewster either side of the stage, bassist Chris Bailey and drummer Nick Norton chugging out a rock solid rhythm section, Gleeson takes point from the start, whirling, headbanging, playing air guiar with his mic stand, dancing - always a blur of manic energy and, above all, inhabiting these classic and much loved songs like he’d worn them all his life.


To his credit he never attempts to ape their former singer – The Angels featuring Dave Gleeson is what it says on the poster and that’s exactly what we get.


The crowd, a little on the sparse side it must be said – though this is a big room to fill on a Thursday night – mostly started out subdued, coming into their own with a fantastic ‘Marseille’, featuring the Brewster brothers incendiary guitars weaving their magic, but following that with the slower ‘Outcast’ slowed the dancers down a bit, before another punkish slab of Aussie rock with ‘Save Me’.


The fire and ice combo of Gleeson and the brothers Brewster prove a great dynamic vehicle and these old classics – peppered with obscure favourites – all sound energetic and fresh. The fact that Gleeson is such a versatile and experienced singer doesn’t hurt!


‘Small Price’ fast forwards the band from their early 70s output to 1984, and boy it’s been far too long since we heard this song and others of it’s vintage live! Sadly this is the only foray into this era tonight.


‘I Ain’t The One’ and ‘Mr Damage’ cement the deal – this band is, as John Brewster recently told me – RED HOT!


‘Devils Gate’ lets John Brewster crack out the harmonica for a rare solo, the band tripping along bluesy route through the latter half of the extended song, showing their earlier, rootsier influences.


These songs are classics, forever imprinted upon those of my generation who spent so much time nestled in the warm glow of stage lights and the hum of amps in Australia’s pubs and clubs throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – and beyond. That Gleeson brings so much character to them, and that the new single ‘Waiting For The Sun’ fits so seamlessly into the setlist is all the justification needed for these guys to be here – these songs need to be heard live and loud!


By ‘Am I Ever…’ even bassist Chris Bailey has cracked a smile, as punters shook Gleeson’s hand, drunks hurled themselves around the dance floor, heads shook and – yes – the usual crowd participation section of the song was chanted heartily.


An encore of ballad ‘Be With You’ and another early favourite ‘Can’t Shake It’ closed proceedings in sparkling ad triumphant fashion.


Despite the controversy – of which there is undoubtedly two sides to the story – it was fantastic to hear these songs and if Neeson and Bidstrup have other plans for a couple of years, is it really fair of them to expect the rest of the band to get day jobs at McDonalds and wait? Of course it isn’t. but one can’t help but wonder if going out under the name Screaming Angels or Angel Jets may have appeased the ‘Other Side’.

Ivory Stairs
After The Rain
No Secrets
Save Me
Small Price
I Ain’t The One
Mr Damage
Devil’s Gate
Take A Long Line
Face The Day
Comin’ Down
Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again
Waiting For The Sun

Be With You
Can’t Shake It