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









You have to congratulate any local authority who puts on an event like this. The 15,000 Wanneroo residents who turned out to the weekend’s Hoodoo Gurus concert saw a well prepared, slick event delivered to ratepayers by the Council free of charge and free of trouble; as part of the yearly Beach to Bush series of concerts. This was the biggest concert so far and it pretty much went off without a hitch.




The family friendly event did see a large proportion of kids in the crowd and it’s heartening to think the some of them in the crowd may years later lay claim to their local council turning them on to rock and roll.







Musically, here at The Rockpit we are always keen to hear and support local live music, but aside from the Guru’s Perth connections it’s good to see a great set from Ampfest winners ‘Dead Owls’ who do a rocking job; and let’s just say an interesting musical mix from ‘Big Old Bears’ who bring a country tweak to a contemporary sound. Both acts deserved their spot in the sun and it’s great to see them get a look at a big stage.




The only real mystery of the night is why when there are so many great Western Australian bands, and to be honest a number of great Wanneroo-based bands, we get the rather luke-warm and run-of-the-mill support of a NSW band ‘Something With Numbers’. Their set offers little new or original and as a front-man we get no engagement with the crowd and barely audible mutters between songs. It’s incredible to think these guys have been around since 2001 and pre-publicity has warned us of an ‘incendiary live show’ that not only fails to materialise, we’re not even sure if it exists. We know the sun is shining and we know they had a dabble with fame back in 2006 but there’s little on display to suggest that another home-grown talent on the bill wouldn’t have gone down better, and to be honest the crowd seem to agree.




To be fair there is a glimmer of life when they play their first new song ‘Runaway’ but it is all rather middle of the road antiseptic alt rock and when you add to that mix, not the most articulate of front men, all you are left with is a handful of just above average songs performed by a rather lifeless band. Asdie from something probably called ‘Kill the Weak’ it’s disappointing especially as I said when you think of the amount of musical talent in Perth to think that this band has been brought over to just tread water.







 Of course all is forgotten when after a brief introduction by the Mayor, using her ‘We live in the Best Local Authority in the Best State in the Best Country in the World’ catchphrase; we get the Gurus on stage.




Now going back many years the Hoodoo Gurus were perhaps the first Australian band I ever saw. And over the years if anything they have only got better. The thing is about a Hoodoo Gurus concert is that they have that seemingly timeless appeal and as such a re a great fit for the family crowd where parents, grandparents and kids can all get into the music on their own ways.




It’s nice to hear a band with a good intro tape to and along with ‘Jetboy’ by New York Dolls and Alice Cooper at his most expansive with ‘Muscle of Love’ we get ‘Gudbye T’Jane’ by Slade to kick off the real proceedings.




Starting with what was a strong return to form after an absence of a few years from recording new material: ‘Use By Date’ from the latest compilation was as good a place as any to start, and from thereon in it’s pretty much a Gurus hit-fest with classics like ‘Right time’; the 30 year old ‘Leilani’ (which was a request from the crowd and not a song, Dave tells us, they had planned on playing); and ‘Death Defying’ you can see why these guys are so revered at home and cult heroes overseas.







A gloriously upbeat ‘Miss Freelove’ gets the extended works thrown at it and is also dedicated to the Lady Mayoress “in the hope that she kicks up her heels”.  Then there’s the quirky ‘Bittersweet’ from perhaps the Gurus biggest album ‘Mars Needs Guitars’.  



And just when you think they’ve peaked they sneak in ‘How many times’ which they dedicate to their ‘younger audience’. The great thing about tonight though is that the Gurus aren’t content to just stick to the hits and ‘Crackin’’ Up’ from the ‘Purity of Essence’ album is a welcome addition to a set that then turns to the classic ‘1000 Miles away’ from 1991 and ‘My Girl’ from 1983. It’s a huge compliment to the band that each of them sound just as fresh as the other.




All in all it’s a night of huge positives: If the Gurus can sound like this after 30 years they truly are one of the great icons of Aussie Rock and if Wanneroo Council can put on entertainment like this then perhaps we do, as the Mayor says, "Live in the greatest local authority, in the greatest State in the greatest Country in the World?'





by Steve DeMay photos by Mark Diggins