America Beckons

An article about the American calling of Hunters and Collectors based around a gig at The Venue in Melbourne.

Author: Adrian Ryan, RAM magazine.

Date: 1986 (gig: 28 September 1986).

Original URL: Prehistoric Sounds,


Article Text

The Venue, Melbourne

Does Mark Seymour really want to be the next Michael Hutchence? The only logical step from being a pub-rock missionary is into the heady realms of teen-stardom, and this no-alcohol farewell proved that the Hunters have most of the prerequisites for the big move.

An opening Throw Your Arms Around Me is greeted with polite sighs and a sea of waving arms, and a smiling Seymour dives right into the adulation. He struts through the spotlight with the downhome flair of a Johnny Cougar, and the Venue’s sprung dance floor is soon moving in sympathy.

Unfortunately (after a solitary, scruffy slam dance is ejected by bouncers to crowd acclaim), Mark slows things down to a torpor with his concerned singer-songwriter bracket. It’s here that the limitations of his anguished howl and one-and-a-half ruffs become most obvious. A nadir is reached with a ballad about wicked World War One colonels, and it’s with palpable relief that band and audience stream back into action with Stuck On You, Dog and The Slab.

When the Hunters are firing at this temperature, the uniqueness of their hard-won Human Frailty groove becomes obvious. The relentless, unswinging rhythm and the strictly classical brass lines make for a strangely ‘Australian’ sound hat might still be just a little too flinty for international mass consumption. But if MTV can market Mark’s biceps as they did Hutchence’s pout, he’s in there with a fighting chance. The valley girls of the USA have never taken anything quite as tough as this to their hearts, but if they do, it’s going to be worth hearing the philosophical justifications in the next round of Seymour interview. Say goodbye, guys, but don’t stay away too long…



Thanks to Prehistoric Sounds.