YOU AM I @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 27th November 2010 with We All Want To, The Honey Month, Charles Jenkins – Live Review

Review: Pepa Wolfe

  An eclectic night at the Hi-fi (Brisbane) began with Charles Jenkins and his special brand of epic tales and poetry. Just the man, his guitar and a few gems, mainly from his current album Walk This Ocean and the previous release Blue Atlas.

A smattering of devotees amongst the early chatting crowd requested favourites. He didn’t have time to play Trees of Brisbane, but those begging for Swing Bridge got lucky.

Friendly, self-depreciating and appreciative of his audience, he worked his way through a strong set, from the heartbreaking Autumn Fall to the thrilling beckoning of Save. Fantastic imagery, bittersweet, at turns gripping then soothing, each song has simplicity yet feels cinematic. Such a beautiful repertoire. If you’re not yet familiar with Jenkins, do yourself a favour and become promptly acquainted.

Brisbane boys The Honey Month filled the stage next, literally bouncing with youthful exuberance. The energy onstage was both contagious and highly entertaining, beginning with a vibrant rendition of Paper Lips and working through an assortment of instruments, the ukulele and the accordion featuring prominently. They danced their way through The Owl, which ended with a cappella harmonies and a warm applause. Not even a blaring technical glitch could dampen the mood, with these energetic young lads even impressing Tim Rogers, who later joked, “We’ll be supporting them in three years time.” The driving rhythms of the latest single Foliage ended an enjoyable set.

We All Want To brought the Pop element to the evening and Back To The Car had fans bopping along in time. Japan had a nice bassy groove to it, the acoustic start soon giving way to a thrashing wall of electric guitars. The simple harmonies worked well, Tim Steward and Sky Staniford’s voices complimenting each other. Out came the harmonica, melodica and some light percussion for the delightful intro to A La Mode which revolves around Staniford’s voice, slowing building into a tempered swell. Such a lush sound, beautifully executed, easily the highlight of the set. A technical hiccup meant the final number Underwater went without piano fills.

It’s a Hard Knock Life playing over the house speakers gave an early indication of the kind of exuberant fun that was in store with headliners You Am I. The curtains parted to reveal front man Tim Rogers sporting a red velvet jacket and a black hat that didn’t quite rival Johnny Cash’s, but certainly had fun trying.

Crime opened the set, Rogers crooning through the ambience, followed up by “We Hardly Knew You”, the first track of their self-titled album. It’s not the rollicking rock of classic You Am I, but it’s just as intense. A rich soundscape, the song has an epic feel and the crowd just soaked it up. Soon losing the hat, they dived into “She Digs Her” and the place was rocking.

Rogers was in great form, declaring it “Saturday Night Live” and daring the punters to out-dance him. Trike was wonderful, riffing into a bluesy segue with a sprinkling of keys, and Pinpricks had plenty of kick, with lots of driving guitars.

While the audience was enrapt, Rogers was definitely outdancing them all, strutting and preening across the stage while guitarist Davey Lane was airborne more than once. Drummer Hopkinson made a swag of punters happy by responding to the calls of “Rusty, give us a wave!”

The new material has a different feel, but is delivered with the same attitude. The Ocean had a fat bass groove to it and was a slamming number live, bassist Andy Kent cruising through it with the same cool he maintained all night.

There was spit and sweat flying by the time they rocked through The Cream & The Crock, before a jerk of a punter brought the night to a stand still for a moment. With a word in his ear and a pat on the head, Rogers soon had him sorted out and it was back to business.

Lane’s lead sailed through the guts of Trigger Finger, elevating the swanky single even further, Rogers abandoning his guitar to dance with the mic stand. Get Up had the entire room jumping, followed by another You Am I classic, Purple Sneakers, which was a real treat.

After a quick break the boys were back with an encore, saying the reason they still do what they do is “cause of how fuckin’ good it feels!” Minor Byrd saw plenty of hands in the air, the crowd just revelling in Givin’ Up and Gettin’ Fat and finally How Much Is Enough? was practically a sing-a-long. With a rock ‘n’ roll flourish of flailing guitars, back-feed and a courteous bow, You Am I were done.

It was a cracking performance of a solid set. And between the old stories, free advice, moves inspired by Beyonce, and the mention of Tina Fey, what more could you want from a night of Aussie Rock?

– Pepa Wolfe

YOU AM I @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 27th November 2010 – Photo Gallery

More articles by Pepa Wolfe:
* WEST SIDE STORY @ Lyric Theatre QPAC, 7th November 2010 – [Live Review]
* The Story of the Miracles at Cookie’s Table @ Cremorne Theatre, QPAC 15th October 2010 – [Live Review]
* Sylvia by A.R. Gurney – Brisbane Arts Theatre, 11th September 2010 – [Live Review]
* Rock for the Regent! 2 @ The Globe Theatre, Fortitude Valley – Saturday 10th July 2010 [Live Review]
* Northern Brisbane Rollers Derby League – Season Two Bout One [Live Review]