State of the Art
A Celebration of Western Australian Music
The Perth Concert Hall
Sunday 3rd June, 2012
By Gazman Campbell
Photography by Awakening Vixen Photography
Editorial commentary by Shane Pinnegar
An ambitious event, State Of The Art chose to celebrate Western Australian music across three indoor concerts staggered throughout the day, whilst an outdoors concert raged non stop.
As with the annual WAMi awards, the line-up is cliquey and unrepresentative of the wildly eclectic local scene – this year the bigger shows are older guitar bands, the outdoor show features mostly indie and roots bands – the best of which (Abbe May, The Novocaines, Ruby Boots) dazzled as always, whilst some of the other “flavour of the month” popsters will likely be nowhere to be seen in a couple of years.
The first indoor show kicked off at 1pm, with JEBEDIAH opening for Fremantle stalwarts ESKIMO JOE.
The Rockpit entered the Concert Hall to the sounds of my personal favourite Eskimo Joe hit single "Foreign Land". Not a bad entree considering we were a little late. The band then moved through a number of the songs better known to regular fans, without setting the stage on fire, but were delivered in a workmanlike fashion somewhat befitting one of Perth's latest chart busters.
"Black Finger Nails, Red Wine" the first single off their third album of the same name got the punters jiggling in their seats & finding their approving voices.
Kav & co didn't exactly give an animated performance or waste a lot of time with witty banter between songs, acknowledging where they came from or why they were there, possibly preferring to let the songs do the talking & when you keep turning out singles & albums the calibre of Eskimo Joe's first 5, they can probably be forgiven for this approach. In fact, the busiest person on stage was their poor, over-worked guitar tech with Kav changing guitars & basses pretty much every song with the rest following suit occasionally with bass duties being more than adequately filled by Joel Quatermaine.
Dedicating the hit "Sarah" to am appropriately named birthday girl & playing most of their best known songs, "Love is a Drug", "From The Sea" etc, nobody could be disappointed with their gig. Good sound, Good songs, well performed with a sparse but well utilised light show made for an enjoyable first time of seeing them live. I'm sure they'll continue on their winning ways for some time to come but you get the feeling, like most Australian bands (especially ones from west of the rabbit proof fence), they would be more comfortable in a more familiar, intimate pub somewhere. Or is that just me ? Good luck to them and long may they rock.
After seeing Eskimo Joe for the first time, we wandered around the outside of the Concert Hall checking out some young local bands we'd never heard of and, generally speaking, hope never to hear from again. If what we saw this day is the future of Perth music, god have mercy on our rock & roll souls !!!
Fortunately for us, after taking advantage of the well organised facilities, it was time for the main event.
Supported by possibly the last ever appearance of The Kryptonics, reforming for this show for the first time since 2007 and featuring their lauded 1988 line-up which recorded the "'69" EP, this show was always going to be a bit special, with Ian Underwood and co touching the hearts of older rockers eager to remember glory days.
It's a long time (30 years!!) & a few line-up changes since the Hoodoo Gurus played "Leilani" on TV on Simon Townsend’s Wonder World, but they have always been great live & today was no exception.
Starting out with their latest single "Use By Date", this multiple ARIA award winning band lead us on a musical journey through their psychedelic, surf guitar, power pop, punk influenced back catalogue from "Stoneage Romeos" to the present in a polished & always enjoyable performance.
"Tojo", "Bittersweet", "1000 Miles Away", "My Girl" & many more of their hit songs got a run this night, much to the pleasure of the packed house, but it was "Miss Freelove '69" that got 'em movin' !!
The "security" were a little annoyed at some punters dancing in the middle of the front rows & were threatening eviction when a friendly tap on the shoulder from Dave Faulkner opened the flood gates & the crowd surged forward & the dancing became contagious. A true rock & roll moment in all it’s anarchic glory.
Alas, all good things must come to an end & sadly for the punters present, so did this gig. Not bothering with an encore, The Gurus decided they'd just keep playing. "What's my Scene" & their foot stomping anthem "Like Wow, Wipeout" bought proceedings to an unwelcome conclusion.
It's no wonder they are still out there playing to packed houses after more than 3 decades in the business. To put it simply, they deliver!
From there current scenesters and big winners at this year’s WAMi Awards, San Cisco popped out, the Brow Horn Orchestra got funky, the hip hoppers took over for the third and last indoor show, whilst local modern legend Abbe May delivered and sensual and blinding set before The Novacaines closed things out.
Considering STATE OF THE ART’s mission statement was to “celebrate the unique and brilliant musicians born and bred in WA”, it seems they did what the formal WA Music Industry always do very well – celebrate a small cross section of the industry, ignoring not only more deserving bands, but also entire genres of music.
With a new CEO at WAM after a decade under the old regime, perhaps we can invest some hope we'll see some changes that the local industry as a whole deserves, and that events such as these not only become regular, but in future can better celebrate the WHOLE of the Western Australian Music Industry, rather than just the areas that the celebrated few considers ‘cool’ or ‘hip’.
Far from a missed opportunity, STATE OF THE ART was an enjoyable day out which never-the-less failed to provide a suitable across the board snapshot of the local industry.
Review posted 09 June 2012