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

ICEHOUSE
LIVE AT THE ASTOR, PERTH
Friday, 10th AUGUST 2012

 


By Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Mark Diggins

 

 

I must have seen Icehouse in their 80’s prime - though I can’t put my finger on a specific time or place, they were pretty much ubiquitous for the whole decade in this country, scoring a bunch of instantly recognisable top ten albums and singles.

 

There was always something different about Icehouse – synth pioneers, they (well, Iva Davies and his revolving door of musos) had a certain arty and aloof way about them – not for them the endless laps of the country’s beer barns like their riff-fuelled contempories, Davies created lush soundscapes a la Bowie & Eno, awash with layered melodies.

 

After a couple of decades composing ballets, film soundtracks, playing the occasional private show and fuelling rumours of a new album for upwards of ten years, 2012 finds Davies back and ready to give the sold out Astor Theatre crowd the trip down memory lane they are hoping for.

 

 

 

Underpinning this new found enthusiasm for touring, Canned Heat’s On The Road Again plays in its entirety before ICEHOUSE take to the darkened stage for Uniform and a lithely angular Hey Little Girl.

 

Davies looks slim and fit, sporting a sensible, grey, hipster Dad haircut where his super-mullet once sat, though his initial banter drew attention to his widely publicised history of on-stage nervousness.

 

As his 5 piece band of multi instrumentalists nail every song – recreating the soundscapes in all their contextual glory whilst still bringing them up to date sonically – Davies bashes away at his white Stratocaster and proves that his uniquely distinctive voice is still in fine form and as smooth as melted chocolate.

 


 

What follows is a trawl through the Icehouse back catalogue which focuses on the Man Of Colours and Primitive Man albums (enjoying their 25th and 30th anniversaries respectively). Whether it’s a New wave/New Romantic inspired blast from their earliest days as Flowers (Icehouse), a brace of AOR-lite guilty pleasures (Crazy, Electric Blue), or the seductive and mournful sax solo that carries one of Davies’ finest songs (Man Of Colours), the band never miss a beat.

 

The Astor was its usual self – gorgeous, full of charm and atmosphere, and boasting possibly the best live sound of any local venue large or small. By the time they played Boulevarde and Can’t Help Myself the ice (groan) had well and truly broken, Davies cracking jokes with the audience and band, and a glorious Great Southern Land – surely the front running contender for a new, relevant national anthem – was a triumphant way to close out the main set.

 

Davies donned his strat for a solo turn through Heartbreak Kid and a band run through of Nothing Too Serious before taking a bow and saying a truly heartfelt thanks to the crowd - any sign of earlier nerves now well and truly dispelled. It’s good to have this complex and prodigious talent back treading the boards.

 

 

 

Setlist:

Uniform
Hey, Little Girl
We Can Get Together
Crazy
Electric Blue
Street Café
Icehouse
Man Of Colours
Love In Motion
My Obsession
Cross The Border
Boulevarde
Can’t Help Myself
Great Southern Land

Heartbreak Kid
Nothing Too Serious