Midnight Oil Hordern Pavillion Monday, 3 October 2022 Shona Ross photos
Midnight Oil are Australian icons. People are often divided about where the split in their canon lives… that point where they stopped being a pub rock staple and moved into political activists. People of a particular political persuasion love them; they worship the ground they walk on, while their detractors feel equally aggrieved by their preaching. While tonight was one for the true believers, it also had something for everyone.
The Hordern has been the scene of Sydney’s greatest rock shows. This was one of them. It was the end of an era, probably where the last doors of an eight-tonne touring truck slammed closed on the glory days of Aussie pub rock. By the looks of the crowd of aged and gnarled surfers, elderly vets of rock days gone by, and the second and third generations of Oils fans, they couldn’t have kept up the pace of a five-night-a-week gigging schedule, anyway.
Wandering past the venue on our way to the Captain Cook Hotel pre-gig, the faithful were assembling en masse nearly three hours before kick-off. Hordes of worn T-shirts, black with the familiar yellow cover of their second album, “Head Injuries” adorned every second or third punter… as we neared the end of the Hordern and opened door gave us a glimpse of the Oils sound checking their 2020 staple “Gadigal Land” … and it sounded good. It augured well for the night ahead.
Grace Cummings + Lady Lyon The Great Club, Marrickville, NSW Thursday 29 September 2022
Sitting at my favourite breakfast haunt with the rain hitting its stride, the nearby beach appears to resemble a wild mosh-pit. The mobile phone rings. I decide to answer and then gulp the last of my coffee: it was my mate Vic.
"I saw Grace Cummings last night, and I know you’d like her; you don’t often see a support act get a standing ovation at the Recital Hall."
Vic rarely raves about too many artists, I slurped down my coffee and started to Google. As the rain pelted down, the sounds of Grace’s song "Heaven” blared from my phone.
That voice and what a song.
As the rain continued and I traversed the slippery pavement, finding spots of shelter on the way home. Grace’s voice resonated from the mobile phone in my coat pocket, sounding for all the world like music coming via a treasured transistor radio from years ago.
This soundtrack to an imaginary ‘60s cult movie, or so the shtick goes, is really a collection of intriguing garage-swamp pop outbursts by enduring but low-key Sydney band. It’s the fifth long-player by The Ramalamas and their first on vinyl.
“Le Cape Noir” is a celebration of ADHD. It swings from surf-tinged rockers to garage pop and back to spy movie instrumental in the space of a few tracks. Its 16 (yes, 16!) songs are broken up by snatches of spoken word faux movie dialogue.
Sit back and let it wash over and you could be sitting in the Valhalla Cinema at Glebe watching a cult film, and ending the night stumbling out of the Sydney Trade Union Club at 4am.
Psycho-Acoustic Processor – Shark Arm (self released)
Here are five songs of neuroses and exposed raw nerves that you won’t hear on Triple J or FBi. Some community radio will be occasionally brave enough to go here, but nothing vaguely associated with what most regard as mainstream media sounds like inner-western Sydney duo Shark Arm.
Remember when radio was dangerous? The Iowa brothers are too young to have that sort of first-hand recall (and, truth be told, I'm struggling as well.) Instead, they’ve borrowed from here, there and everywhere to arrive where they are. Which should be St Kilda circa 1982 or Sydney Trade Union Club on a night sponsored by the manufacturers of Mandrax.
Ten years on from their glorious live return following a 21-year hiatus, Sunnyboys have announced a final summer tour and the last ever live shows. No animosity, no musical differences, just the satisfaction of a job well done and knowing that it’s time.
The Last Dance Tour will run in conjunction with the release of “Sunnyboys ’81-’84” a double vinyl band curated best-of featuring all the hits, the equally-as-good B-sides, fan faves, rarities and live material - many appearing on vinyl for the first time - and all drawn from their years as Mushroom Records recording artists.
“Sunnyboys ’81-’84” will be released in a limited edition of blue vinyl and is released on November 11.
Tickets for the tour go on sale tomorrow. Dates after the See More link.
Punch The Boss b/w Down The Coast – The Crankees (Evil Tone)
There’s no prospect of a new dawn in Australian industrial relations with sentiment like this going around. Sydney’s Crankees express something we’ve all felt on the A side, a furious little garage punk tune that’s fuelled in equal parts by Jimmy Meek’s snakey guitar line, Rodney Todd’s snarkey vocal and guest Hammond organ from producer Jay Whalley. What do we want? Puglism. When do we want it? Now.
The B side is almost as good, a wry ode to tree changing that keeps it simple and manages to namecheck Mollymook. There’s not a hint of garage slop; the band is tighter than the bends in the Princes Highway at Foxground with Meek’s guitar again to the fore. The production sounds great. Hopefully, they have an album in them.
Buy a copy here. It's a limited edition. While you're at it, look around and listen to Evil Tone's other stuff. They're putting out some great stuff.
Beyond The Sound (...And Beyond) – Scott Morgan’s Powertrane (Easy Action)
The passing of guitarist Robert Gillespie after a lengthy illness earlier this year should give you an excuse (if any were needed) to chase down this vynil re-issue of the 2007 CD he played on as a member of Scott Morgan’s Powertrane.
Gillespie was a guitarist of rare skill who’d played in The Torpedos, glammy Motor City Rockers and The Rob Tyner Band, and was a longtime Mitch Ryder sideman. Scott Morgan’s Powertrane may not have been household names but, damn, they were a fine band that was blessed with one of the great vocalists in Scott Morgan. He and Gillespie were also a superb guitar pairing – as you’ll hear on this record.
Witness To The Crime – Gunfire Dance (Easy Action)
If you loved the Damned, Thee Hypnotics, Bounty Hunters, and Lords Of The New Church, be sure to order this gorgeous Gunfire Dance vinyl album from Easy Action and play the motherfucker as loud as you can.
It is a posthumous compilation and a thing of real beauty, designed by Dave Twist with liner notes by yours humbly, and features some really beautiful, seldom seen photos of our UK lads from back in the day.
The Taste of Honey'...- Tim Hudspith and Goldentone (Dead Letter Records)
I saw Tim Hudspith play a few weeks ago. Still has that remarkably lush tone to his music, still those love songs which alternately haunt or spook the listener into a study of memory, or provoke a wry, pained smile of recognition.
We don't always get what we want, nor less what we deserve, but Hudspith twitches our romantic soul.
If you don't have one of those, I will ask you to ponder what on earth you're doing reading about rock 'n' roll.
Hudspith is a romantic of the old school. All those expectations raised and lowered, flying high then spiralling down to dust.