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

Houghtons Winery – Lounge In The Valley
Sunday October 11, 2009


The Swan Valley’s annual Spring In The Valley weekend is a mecca for wine & food fanciers, bus loads of teenage booze hounds, and twenty- to forty-somethings wanting a leisurely Spring afternoon on the grass with a bottle of wine.


After refusing to participate in 2008’s event due to the aforementioned booze hounds, Houghtons Winery have led the push to rebrand the event as a kind of “open house” for the select few – at $100 a head, that is, which includes food and drink vouchers, wine glass and entertainment courtesy of locals Bob Evans and the Hoodoo Gurus.



The same line-up played both Saturday and Sunday, to roughly three thousand people on day one, while contending with overcast and occasionally wet weather, and a windy day largely bereft of sunlight on day two, for about a thousand and a half.


Bob Evans warmed up the chilly Sunday crowd with selections from his three solo albums, plus covers of Otis Redding’s Dock of The Bay, The Beatles’ Taxman, and – erm – Lily Allen’s Not Fair.


The poppified Dylanesque stylings of Nowhere Without You and For Today worked better than the rockier full band tunes from the eternally youthful looking Evans’ latest album – the songs and melodies just seem stronger to our ears, and it looked like many in the crowd agreed.

The Hoodoo Gurus had a long and illustrious career through the late eighties and early nineties, taking their insanely catchy power pop chords and choruses to the top of the charts across Australia and making some serious inroads into the US college circuit. After a break they reformed and currently play occasional public and corporate gigs, having consolidated their place as elder statesmen of Aussie rock.


The band took to the stage at 3:30pm and blasted the crowd with a raucous wall of sound before ripping into debut album classic I Want You Back –they sound more vital than ever, and look like they’re having a ball on stage!


New song Crackin’ Up rocks the tipsy crowd and bodes well for the new album – apparently recorded and mixed, but sent to Ed Stasium in The States to mix again from scratch as the band weren’t happy with the results first time round. Expect the album early 2010.


From then on in it was one catchy classic after another – Waking Up Tired, Death Defying, Middle of the Land, relative obscurities I Don’t Mind and Nobody, Come Anytime – until it was time for a surprise: Rod Radalj, aka “Rockin’ Roddy Radar”, one-time member of Les Hoodoo Gurus, the band who later became this band, was invited up on stage for the first time in 27 years to perform the one single that first band ever released: Leilani.



Back in those innocent days of yore the band were a crazed amalgam of indie rockabilly cowpunk (before such a thing even existed), paisley and hair spray, but today the song takes on an altogether harder edge, whilst remaining true to its inherent tribal rhythms and Polynesian themes.


Bittersweet, Tojo, Miss Freelove ’69, 1000 Miles Away, The Right Time and Like Wow, Wipeout! All followed in quick succession and the crowd either danced or laid on the grass and sipped their wine, feet tapping – today the Hoodoos do not put a single foot wrong, and every song in the set is a bonfide classic.


After a short break they were back for an encore – once again asking Radalj to join the band, and explaining that they met today after a “chance meeting backstage”. Arthur, their tribute to their original bass player who passed away, was next, followed by classic early B-side Be My Guru, sounding heavier than I’ve ever heard it before. There’s less paisley on show m=nowadays – and less hair – but lead guitarist Brad Shepherd and singer/guitarist Dave Faulkner are obviously loving being back onstage together playing to appreciative crowds, and the reclaiming of their legacy should not be underestimated.


To close their set the band played What’s My Scene, another classic from their early albums, and then it was all over, the inebriated fans left to head home, happy after a very successful, fun and entertaining day in one of Perth’s most beautiful venues.



Shane Pinnegar



I Want You Back
Crackin’ Up
Waking Up Tired
Death Defying
In The Middle Of The Land
I Don’t Mind
Come Anytime
Miss Freelove ‘69
1,000 Miles Away
The Right Time
Like Wow, Wipeout!

Be My Guru
What’s My Scene