Saturday, June 28, 2014


Elsternwick Park, 22 June, 2014

A happy, scarf-toting crowd ambles into sunny Elsternwick Park as the sound of Lou Reed sneering about life in New York pours from the PA.

After the kid-tastic entertainment of Elmo & Friends, first act of the day Fraser A Gorman draws a curious audience into the shadow of the stage. Gorman’s breezy windows-down-volume-up style of country rock belies his smart lyrics and rich voice, qualities that elevate “animal country jam” Shiny Gun and the outdoorsy Dark Eyes. A sterling piano-driven cover of the day’s theme song Perfect Day tinkles and booms before Gorman’s recent single Book Of Love.

The Smith Street Band’s ruckus bursts across the oval like a splintering hangover, their ferocious dry guitars and muscular energy a wake-up call to latecomers. Singer Wil Wagner, a man not afraid of swearing loudly and clearly in front of awestruck, earmuffed toddlers, drives the gutsy furious set and yanks up energy levels as kickoff approaches.

At half-time Saskwatch, who boast nearly a football side’s worth of members, blast their addictive brand of brassy funk. New single A Love Divine and recent release Born To Break Your Heart are both excellent examples of pop soul. Their cover of Gorillaz (ft Lou Reed)’s Some Kind Of Nature is a deft tribute and slots nicely into a set that sounds as if Amy Winehouse had necked an E made a comeback record. 

“Enough of that,” says MC Jonnie von Goes, dragging attention away from the recently completed footy game (which the Rockdogs won by nine points). “There were young people for Elmo, slightly older people for Fraser A Gorman and The Smith Street Band, slightly older people for Saskwatch and now we’ve got really old people for this one! A bushfire couldn’t kill them. An atrophied liver couldn’t kill Paul [Stewart]. They’re indestructible! They are Painters & Dockers! Who the fuck are you!?”

Stewart plays the belligerent court jester in shorts and buttoned suspenders, slapping his arse and poking out his tongue. “Ha! We’re still alive, believe it or not,” he says before introducing a searing, explosive take on 1991’s New World Order. Saskwatch join them for You Know You’re Soaking In It, which is dedicated to ex-manager Lobby Loyde and “the Australian who donated me their liver”. Kill Kill Kill sees the Rockdogs cheerleaders join and immediately make every gig not featuring cheerleaders seem lame. With most songs dedicated to a deceased friend and a burst of The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, it’s a poignant, arse-kicking, life-affirming set. Exciting Burundi rappers FLYBZ step up for Painters & Dockers’ Let’s Give It A Go and win many new fans. Nude School is dedicated to Christopher Pyne. The typically excellent Reclink Community Cup music programming emerges victorious yet again.

No comments:

Post a Comment