RAM Tivoli Gig Review

A review of a 1985 Jaws era Hunters and Collectors gig at the Tivoli in Sydney.

Author: Wanda Jamrozik, RAM Magazine.

Date: 27 March 1985 (gig: 21 February 1985).


Article Text

Tonight, the Tiv is so packed you could wring the air, so thick it is with smoke and the humidity generated by hundreds of excited bodies. Owing to the vagaries of public transport on a wet Sydney night, I have succeeded in missing the support band – but this is perhaps fortunate, as half an hour in here has left me gasping for a cool breeze.

Just as I was getting wobbly from lack of oxygen, a surge to the front heralded the opening notes of Throw Your Arms Around Me. Ah! I love the way Hunters and Collectors, so quintessentially boyish in most respects, are unafraid to perform such a smouldering torch song first up, and so full of secret tenderness!

This band has such a wealth of terrific material at their disposal, and a seemingly infinite supply of genius which is brought to bear on the complex arrangements of the songs. Horns, keyboards and guitar are all used in the creation of mini aural landscapes which shimmer in the air before you. And deep down below, the grunting rhythms keep everybody’s feet on the ground and on the move: groinal music with its head in the crowds.

Without wanting them to sound like dinosaurs of rock, Hunters and Collectors play like a well-oiled machine. They work like bastards to generate the sort of energy that makes live performances a matter for celebration, clearly taking huge pleasure in their mastery of the medium. The audience responds in kind, receiving all offerings rapturously and whooping extra over special favourites.

Having survived early idolatory, Hunters and Collectors have developed an immensely powerful and individual aesthetic which works as well on vinyl as it does live. They richly deserve the respect they command across the music industry. I only hope they can escape being seduced into complacency by their own achievements, for at the core of their music lies a sharp and hungry edge which I for one would miss terribly if they ever came to rest on past laurels. Long may they make mincemeat of our lives!