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www.therockpit.net Weddings-Parties-Anything-Perth-18-Sep-2011

WEDDINGS PARTIES ANYTHING
With Pete Lawler
The Charles Hotel, Perth
Sunday 18 September 2011

 

By Shane Pinnegar

 

 

 

Pete Lawler - natural born comic, larrikin character and muso – doesn’t waste time on pretence, it’s straight into the jokes and the music.

 

Opening with the beautifully sweet ‘In The Meantime’, featuring just the man and his acoustic guitar, he then takes a complete change of tack – and it’s fair to say that no-one here at this rainy Sunday session expected his new direction to be “Angry Boys” inspired rap!

 

As he joked his way through ‘Fantasy World’, ‘Michael Hutchence Says’ and ‘I Sniffed The Last Of The Blow’, his lyrics were insightful and hilarious, often angry, and always “another true story, ladies and gentlemen”.

 

There’s a Prince-like funky soul added under the rapped vocals of these engaging and charming tales of decadence and disappointment. Whether he’s serious or tongue in cheek is anyone’s guess, but his songs and delivery are heartfelt and funny throughout ‘The Dropout’ (about quitting Weddings Parties Anything), ‘Oui Oui Mon Chere (I’ve Got The Saviour Faire)’ and set closer ‘200 Grand In The Hole’, another expose of the sordid life of a folk-rock band’s relentless touring around this grand sunburnt country.

 

It’s unlikely anyone here, had they known Lawler would be rapping his way through a set of autobiographically comic tunes, would have expected to enjoy it half as much as they did – even Lawler himself - but he pulls it off brilliantly to a solid response. In his own words “Thankyou, this is going down far better than expected!”


Lawler caps off his set with a short harmonica piece which leads to louder cheers as one by one the Weddings crew file onstage and join in, before segueing into a raucous ‘Taylor Square’.

 

 

‘Industrial Town’ is Pogues-intense, the guitars turned up loud and the accordion on full blast, and a celebratory ‘Ticket In Tatts’ continues the party atmosphere – though the band don’t look too thrilled at being bombarded by coins during the “ten cents short of a dollar” lyric, even though Weddings fans have long held that tradition to their hearts.

 

 

Mick’s slimmed down since the last Sure Things tour – apart from several days' stubble, he looks more akin to his babyfaced early WPA days, and with Lawler shaking a tambourine, Jen Anderson thrashing away on her acoustic guitar or taking a bow to her fiddle, and the rest of the band back doing their thing, it’s more than a reunion show and a celebration of the band’s legacy - it’s a time capsule.

 

These are songs as stories and stories as songs in the finest Celtic tradition, though it’s perhaps not too hard to see why WPA never crossed over and made it huge. They’re so staunchly independent and resolute in their contempt for selling out or playing the game that maybe they were always destined to remain a much loved cult band.

 

 

“Much loved” is as endearing an understatement as there ever was – the Weddings have always had a knack of making every crowd member feel a part of their stories and inspiring fierce devotion because of it – it’s not unusual to see tears shed at a Weddings gig as one or another story touches a chord deep inside someone, be it ‘Fathers Day’, ‘The Shortest Time’, ‘Step In Step Out’ or one of many other should-have-been classics.

 

There are singalongs galore, the band rocking much harder than Mick’s solo or Sure Things work, and yes – despite what I wrote above, this band SHOULD’VE been huge.

 

 

All too soon it was over – and who knows when (or if) WPA will make it back out West. Those who made it to this year’s Fremantle and North Perth shows will have some treasured memories to hold dear, and even if Weddings don’t make it back any time soon, we look forward to Mick flying over with The Sure Thing sooner rather than later.

 

 

Taylor Square
Industrial Town
Ticket in Tatts
The Wind and The Rain
Roaring Days
Monday’s Experts
Grey Skies Over Collingwood
Luckiest Man
Easy Money
Ship In The Harbour
“would you scratch my back… to hear me yawning”
Setbacks In Halifax
Fathers Day
Rain in My Heart
Away Away
Woman Of Ireland (Party In Fitzroy)
Sergeant Small
The Shortest Time

 

A Tale They Won’t Believe
Pushin’ On The Plough
Step In Step Out

 

++ sadly this reviewer had to leave before the final encore to avoid standing in the rain for hours, so there were a couple more songs played ++