Blue Gum Sydney Review

Early Jaws era gig review from Sydney.

Author: Penelope Vaughan, RAM.

Date: 20 July 1984 (gig: 1 June 1984).

Original URL: N/A.


Article Text

Hunters and Collectors are a somewhat pared-down ensemble these days. They now do without the services of Greg Perano (of gas cylinder fame) and Martin Lubran (formerly on bass(!). They now make so with a trombone, trumpet, French horn, bass, guitar, keyboards and drums. The keyboards and horns in particular provide both relief and a pleasant diversion form the previous overwhelming bass/guitar/drum onslaught.

As is their custom, the leaner Hunters began with much vigour and energy – which at first manifested itself in the form of The Jaws Of Life (title track of the new album), followed by other new songs. There were some shouts for Stranger, though only a few. Towtruck was requested more than once, and early on some yelled “Lumps Of Lead!”, to which Mark Seymour replied with a grin: “Lumps of what?” They should have known. There will be no more pinching of guts or generous towtrucks driving round our neighbourhood. So, having relinquished any hope of hearing the strains of the familiar, the crowd settled down to enjoy the new repertoire.

On this particular night, it was hard to believe how well the set hung together. The production was excellent, there was no stray feedback, and the balance between instruments and vocals was exemplary. With a superb tight start to one song leading into another that was an intense, passionate and yet gentle thing, Hunters and Collectors played out their hour on stage and then generously delivered three encores. There were enjoying themselves immensely.

The Blue Gum show thrived on the mutual enthusiasm between the band and audience. The same could have applied to their last performance at the Trade Union Club had it not been somewhat tainted by Mark Seymour’s sulky mood, due in part to the fact that his guitar had “fucked-up” midway through one of their first songs. Despite this, the warmth created at the Blue Gum was there again, and with the peculiar ambience the Trade Union Club exudes, the band were in their element.

Audiences are witnessing a softening of the arrogance that was overriding the quality of Hunters and Collectors’ live shows late last year. I do regret the passing of the World of Stone / Stranger era, however the new approach and fresh attitude fostered by the band is inspiring.