Tuesday night rock'n'roll at the Annandale? Not gonna be an eventful night, no sirree....goin to pay homage to some power-pop legends who have given me years of inspiration and pleasure, coupla beers and some great tunes and home to bed. It's Tuesday night for chrissakes, can't get carried away, what can possibly go wrong I thought...I often forget about the influence of rock'n'roll on my weak will.
As far as I was concerned, the night belonged to Leadfinger.
It ain’t often in this town that you wish you could attend three gigs at the same town. However, when I was young and malnourished, in the '70s to about 1983, there was sometimes one brilliant gig, and a handful of ‘hmm, may as well, nothing else is on’ gigs, and always about three or four parties every Friday and Saturday.
Adelaide parties of the very late '60s on were sometimes legendary… the ones which didn’t stop all weekend were rare but they happened from time to time. A band would come from interstate and play Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, often at the same place, and I remember … uh, I may be about to digress.
The point is that in the actual '70s, you just would never have anything like this; two gigs showcasing 12 or so bands, all the bands good enough to dance to and fling beer over, some much better and some even better than that. So there. You can’t go back. But by fuck you should get out to more gigs. Sod the kids, bring ‘em along, put ‘em in a sound-proof booth like what Pete Townsend bounces around in and drip feed ‘em over the top.
The odds were stacked against Leadfinger delivering two killer albums in a row but only a fool would have laid down their readies against him. Here's 11 songs of blues-rock swagger with classic influences, all processed through Stew Cunningham's personal musical blender.
If Stewart "Leadfinger" Cunningham's metamorphosis from razor-riffing Detroit-inspired rocker to introspective alt.balladeer threw fans of his previous bands, his shift to tough-talking bluesman with glam overtones might suit them better.
The leader hails from an old coal mining town called Helensburgh so it's fitting that these seven songs are supposedly cast-off rocks from the band named Leadfinger. Excess to the forthcoming album's requirements all but one of them may be, but they collectively make an EP that's anything but throwaway.
If you're at The Bar I'm sure you know who Stew "Leadfinger" Cunningham is. A real legend of the Australian underground leading or taking part in such fantastic bands as The Proton Energy Pills, Brother Brick, Asteroid B-612, Challenger 7, Yes Men.
Dunno if it's a spring clearance of some spare recordings or a pause before the next long-player, but this eight-song EP from Wollongong trio Leadfinger hits the spot. My only hope is the title isn't prophetic - and of course you can make sure it isn't. More on that after I tell you why it works.
The portents were there that it was going to be a very good album but Leadfinger's "We Make The Music" makes a convincing claim for greatness in the space of 49 minutes. From the Who-like title track that opens it to the Hendrix-tinged finale, "Beside Me, Against Me" (with its shades of "Castles in the Air") this is a bona fide Australian classic.
Here’s the exclusive debut of “Cheer Squad”, a non-album digital-only single and taster on Conquest of Noise for Leadfinger’s forthcoming album “Friday Night Heroes”.
“Cheer Squad”is a high-energy bolt from the zeitgeist...it's a song about social media and not fitting in with the crowd, with an attitude that harks back to the ‘70s punk era. “Cheer Squad” is backed up by “The Man I Used to Be”, from the upcoming album. Buy and download the single over the next month and you’ll also get an amazing non-album bonus track called Three Brothers. Three great songs for $A4 and they’re all available here.
Leadfinger will play "Cheer Squad" this Friday night at an I-94 Bar show at Sydney's Marrickville Bowling Club with special guests Simon Chainsaw (with an all-star band of ex-New Christs, Hell Crab City and Filth members) and the garage groove of The Escapes.