Hoodoo Gurus presents The Dig It Up Invitational
With Redd Kross and The Fleshtones
The Astor Theatre, Perth
Saturday 28th April 2012
By Shane Pinnegar
Whilst not boasting the spontaneous nocturnal emission line-ups of the Sydney or Melbourne legs of the Dig It Up Invitational (Hard-Ons, The Sonics, Tek & Younger, Celibate Rifles, The 5,6,7,8’s and more!), The Hoodoos have treated Perth with a stellarly raucous threesome to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their debut single Leilani.
THE FLESHTONES are first on stage tonight, blasting their gloriously catchy garage pop tunes complete with choreographed kicks, twirls and guitar thrusts – not to mention the two guitarists showing off with some synchronised guitar playing of each other’s instruments – it’s all very reminiscent of the 60’s soul revues that so influenced the original garage rock wave of the psychedelic age.
Through Feels Good To Feel, Pretty Pretty, Way Down South, a raw, instrumental Day Tripper that sounded like early 70’s The Who, We Remember The Ramones, Tearing Me Apart and more, The Fleshtones are far more than mere garage revivalists – they’re a mind blowing sugar coated cake made from 60’s R&B, Soul, garage, pop and surf rock, and most of all - they are deliciously fun, going a long way to remind us of the enduring nature of all 3 bands on tonight’s bill – riffs + melodies + unflagging energy + irresistible hooks + fun = great rock n’ roll!!
Throw in a mid-song handover of guitar to none other than local legend Dom Mariani, the band finishing by wandering offstage, still playing, through the crowd and out to the foyer, leaving only their drummer on-stage, and you have a great set of 60’s influenced rock to start the night off.
REDD KROSS have been around almost as long as The Fleshtones, having formed in 1980, and are another cult favourite amongst rock obsessives of a certain age, though this is only their second visit to Perth, following on from a previous stretch with The Gurus in 1994.
They throw up a huge sonic wall, impossibly tight in the way that only 1000 gigs together and a fair amount of ESP can provide.
Jimmy’s Fantasy, and a classy, bopping version of TV’s Bewitched theme song Blow You A Kiss In The Wind, along with a new song from the forthcoming “Researching The Blues” album, see the Californians strut and stomp and make it clear they have the tools for the job at hand.
Through favourites Switchblade Sister, Burn Out, Follow The Leader and Crazy World, Redd Kross may not have the tongue in cheek stunts of The Fleshtones, but they more than make up for it with sheer sonic energy and power. Call it glam punk or whatever you like, Redd Kross – like the other bands on tonight’s bill – are simply one thing: Good Rock n’ Roll!
The band formerly known as Les Hoodoo Gurus ascended the darkened stage - flanked by two man-sized inflatable T-Rexes and Pterodactyls, evoking the cover of their debut album “Stoneage Romeos”, which they are here to play in it’s entirety - to a huge cheer and wasted no time launching immediately into Side One, Track One – Let’s All Turn On.
Recognised as one of Australia’s Top 30 Albums in a 2010 book, long after it received Countdown’s Best Debut Album award upon release in 1984, both the album and the band managed to straddle the great divide between being a cult favourite and a commercial hit more successfully than most.
They may have achieved more lucrative success with their many radio hits and relentless tours, drawing circles around this country and spending months on the U.S. college circuit in the years to follow, but it’s this debut album which perfectly captured the raw talent and natural exuberance of Dave Faulkner and the band.
Instant classics I Want You Back, My Girl, Tojo and more sound as fresh today as way back in 1984, and the crowd go mental from the first note, the majority of them singing every word, grown men dancing side by side with their mates.
Romping through the album in order is tremendous fun – these are songs that were integral to our generation: they evoke memories of our youth and our musical maturity and evolution, memories of a time when life was more carefree and, dammit, FUN.
As far as debut singles go, Leilani is proof positive that leader Dave Faulkner, as guitarist Brad Shepherd recently asserted, “was a fully formed genius songwriter” from the start of their career. (Read my interview with Brad Shepherd Here)
From garage punk (the emphatic Let’s All Turn On) to sublime pop rock (a wild singalong I Want You Back), the Bo Diddley groove of Arthur to the psych swamp rock of Death Ship and on through pre-grunge (a raunchy & muscular Dig It Up, this tour’s titular song) the band are relentless and the crowd consumed by the performance.
There’s perfect jangle pop (My Girl’s sweetness and light), Middle Eastern wistfulness (a rare and evocative live airing of Zanzibar) and the Polynesian drum beats and “Umgowa!” chants of Leilani, the debut single which tonight – 30 years later – still makes the room go tribal.
On through the album they go - psychobilly touched pop fuzz (a rollicking Tojo which made sure the entire dance floor was pogoing and bouncing), psychedelic garage rock (a swirling and swampy 13th Floor Elevators-like rendition of In The Echo Chamber), arriving exhaustedly at the hilarious groove of I Was A Kamikaze Pilot.
After a well-deserved bow the Hoodoo Gurus don’t bother leaving the stage and forcing the audience to beg for an encore, they just get straight down to it with a clutch of favourites encompassing hits The Right Time, Bittersweet, Crackin’ Up, and the iconic 1000 Miles Away, joined on the chorus by the entire Astor choir.
There was little doubt of another encore – a proper one this time – judging by the frenzy of the crowd, and the band didn’t disappoint, cracking out the pure pop song Come Anytime and a fiercely polar opposite Axegrinder, before closing proceedings with the classic B-side to the My Girl single and “theme song to the state of Hoodoo Guru-dom” Be My Guru, all swirling and punchy psych rock over a Bo Diddley beat.
Another break, another encore, and this one is all about the fun! Faulkner calls up original band member – the man who brought the “Hoodoo” to his “Gurus” – Rockin’ Roddy Radalj, for a spirited rendition of an unrecorded number from the early days – I’m In Love With Hoodoo You.
For the grand finale, The Gurus and Radalj are joined by The Fleshtones and Redd Kross plus a myriad of hangers on and random punters dancing and chanting through The Glitter Band’s Rock & Roll Pt 2.
Tonight proves that it’s no surprise that “Stoneage Romeos” smacked the zeitgeist full in the face in ’84 and has only grown fonder in the rear vision mirror: it’s an album full of charm and talent, equal parts hooks, riffs and lyrical genius.
Although the other couple of B-sides from the album’s singles would have been great to hear as well, especially Hoodoo You Love, I can’t recall as good – or as sweaty – a gig since The New York Dolls’ Perth show in October of last year. Magic.
Let’s All Turn On
I Want You Back
Dig It Up
In The Echo Chamber
I Was A Kamikaze Pilot
The Right Time
1000 Miles Away
Be My Guru
I’m In Love With Hoodoo You
Rock n’ Roll Pt 2
Review posted 3rd May 2012