Live Review: Hoodoo Gurus, The Break, The Gun Street Girls @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 29 April 2010

By Denis Semchenko

Hoodoo Gurus
[Photo: Stuart Blythe]
  Tonight’s triple bill at West End’s Hi-Fi is more Aussie than Paul Hogan’s thongs, Merv Hughes’ handlebar or Rolf Harris’s wobbleboard – and all the more fun for it. Specialising in no-bullshit, classic pub rock, Gun Street Girls provide an invigorating start to the evening as the predominantly middle-aged, ’80s-weathered punters fill the venue. The erstwhile Dallas Crane dynamo, frontman Dave Larkin hammers a very cool Gretsch White Falcon and belts it out like one of the best screamers in Oz-rock that he is. Barnstormers How I Roll, Right Under The Wind and powerpop-tinged Party In Hell get the heads nodding and feet stomping; I consider myself nicely warmed up for the next sonic wave…

…which duly hits as The Break – an instrumental rock combo comprising three former Midnight Oil members and Violent Femmes’ bassist – open with a crunchy Ventures cover.

I immediately conclude that three Oils and one Femme certainly don’t equal “Midnight Femmes” as saturated reverb fills the room. Ever the tornado on drums, Rob Hirst hammers out visceral passages one the bona fide neo-surf classic Cylinders while Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie lock in a time-honoured, vice-tight guitar section and the towering Brian Ritchie dwarfs his thundering Fender Precision bass. From the combo’s debut outing Church Of The Open Sky, S.Q.U.I.D.’s ’60s sci-fi/B-movie vibe makes for an excellent precursor to an ancient Oils number Birdman; Massacres annihilates with the power of its namesake surf break and set closer Cyclops is an appropriately lumbering, ray-zapping monster. Driven by Rotsey and Moginie’s souped-up Jazzmasters, the Oils’ old instrumental Wedding Cake Island and Dick Dale’s perennial Misirlou (made famous through the Pulp Fiction movie) absolutely kill. In all, a thoroughly exhilarating ride – you wouldn’t want to challenge these guys to a surf-off.

A hearty, beer-fuelled crowd roar greets Aussie rock legends Hoodoo Gurus and not long before we know it, they pummel out the rousing I Want You Back (replete with a collective singalong). Decked out in a loud paisley shirt and a pair of outta-sight red flares, the seemingly non-ageing lead guitarist Brad Shepherd rips it up on his white Gibson SG while frontman Dave Faulkner attacks his trademark old Telecaster with unending vigour. The bluesy Ashamed Of Me is the first number from the Hoodoos’ excellent latest LP Purity Of Essence to get aired tonight, Shepherd subsequently strapping on a killer-looking Les Paul Black Beauty for I Don’t Want Nobody and POE’s furiously-paced racing tribute Burnt Orange. Tried-and-true oldie In The Middle Of The Land gets a warm reception, but it’s Mars Needs Guitars! iconic opener Bittersweet that has literally everyone in the house chanting every line as Shepherd whips up Pete Townshend-style windmills. Another choice cut off POE, soul-rocker I Hope You’re Happy has us merrily shuffle our feet; Shepherd takes the mic on the equally jaunty Another Thing Coming before Faulkner delivers a low-key solo rendition of the beloved My Girl to a near-religious response. The ever-funky Miss Freelove ’69 concludes with a suitably wigged-out Shepherd solo, POE closer Stars Look Down glides like a psychedelic airplane, old staple Come Anytime reignites the dance moves and the incendiary Crackin’ Up proves its instant-classic status as it erupts into a mighty twin-guitar salvo. Rock-solid throughout, the Sydneysiders wish The Hi-Fi a happy first birthday with a classic treble of 1,000 Miles Away, The Right Time and the NRL-commissioned What’s My Scene?…

… and save the best for last with a pulverising encore of Stoneage Romeos chestnut

I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, punky Gene Hackman and driving, stomping Like Wow – Wipeout! I love the way you walk, you talk, your smile, your style – like… wow. What a bloody ripper of a gig, mate.

Hoodoo GurusBuy: Click here for HOODOO GURUS from iTunes
The BreakBuy: Click here for THE BREAK from iTunes
Gun Street GirlsBuy: Click here for GUN STREET GIRLS from iTunes


Hoodoo Gurus