Live On Stage (Note: Incomplete)
Radio station 3RRR Appealathon concert review.
Date: 13 July 1991 (gig: 28 June 1991).
Original URL: N/A.
Hunters & Collectors / Paul Kelly / G. W. McLennan / Not Drowning Waving / Archie Roach
Venue: The Palace, Melbourne
No, although it might look like the line up at Mushroom’s end of financial year break up, it isn’t. Tonight was organised as an appeal to raise money for a new transmitter for public radio 3RRR. Radio On.
Archie Roach opened the show with the man’s authoritative voice dominating. While Archie sang well, he could have used a tighter set of supporting musicians backing him on stage. I like a bit of slack in my harmonies, but some of the lines were going down so wide of the mark, it was even difficult to tell where they were intended to go. A dodgy mix and a talkative audience also diminished the overall performance.
Not Drowning Waving also had trouble with the mix. They are not the sort of band that tends to fair well in barns like this as much of their subtlety and dynamics are lots. Despite acoustical problems, their set had many highlights. A cover of the Reels “Kitchen Man” was glorious, as were the tracks from their current album Tabaran. A new number, “Migrant Song”, was memorable as the closest thing to a top 40 hit that they have ever performed, while a rousing version of “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie”, with three people laying into the one drum kit was stunning. David Bridie’s voice was strong and evocative and provided the perfect pivot for the band’s sound.
Grant McLennan, like Archie Roach and Paul Kelly, played a short set. Backed by a wonderfully resonant double bass and his own acoustic playing, GW played tracks from his new solo album Watershed in an engaging and confident fashion. The performance was well received and promted the thought that maybe after all those years with the Go Betweens, McLennan might actually get to taste some commercial success.
After about twenty minutes, the baton was passed to Paul Kelly, who played a set that was good rather than great. If anything, it lacked a certain freshness and sparkle. Maybe the high standard that he has set in the past has made me unwilling to accept anything below that level. The current single, “Keep It To Yourself”, was a high point. Kelly finished and the cries of “hunnaaaaaarrrrrsss” intensified.
Hunters and Collectors were magnificent. Every superlative that has dribbled from the mouths of stunned critics in the past is true. (And I thought Ross Clelland was on the H&C payroll!) If they are not the best live band in Australia, on tonight’s performance alone, they’d be bloody close. They looked and sounded like a band; a strong ensemble with a job to do and the skills to do it. What’s more, there was deep individual awareness of what the other members of the group were doing and how their playing effected the overall sound picture. I know the macho, sporting analogies used to describe this band in the past, but they played like a team. Carn Hunnas. And as those football commentators say after one side has thrashed the other, it’s very hard to single out the stars in a team full of high performance champions. But here goes.
Three votes to sound mixed Robert Miles who presented the sound perfectly to the audience. The juggling of vocals and electric and acoustic instruments in the black hole of St Kilda must be a difficult feat. The end result was a glorious, dynamic, colourful landscape of sound that in the hands of a lesser talent would have been a furry, mushy, fuzz. By making… (cut)