Archive for the ‘Rockbrat Live Review:’ Category

7379552.jpegUp on the stage, it’s as hot as Hades. Homemade Sin are working hard – and sweating buckets. ‘Can we turn on the Night Ranger?’ asks Dan Baird, referring to the big fan in the corner that if turned on will give the band the big hair look of Jack Blades & co. “I’ll end up with Bon Jovi hair”, chuckles Warner Hodges. The band are in a good mood and the crowd are into it. The temperature is cooled, but its gonna take more than an exhaust fan to cool rock ‘n’ roll this hot. Welcome to the world of Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll.

Having lived in the Balmain area in the late 1980s, I’d seen some good gigs in a number of pubs in this area- but tonight’s show trumps ‘em all. From the Gladesville Tavern to the now derelict eye-sore that is Balmain Leagues and of course, the Bridge Hotel, which over a period of years now has become of bit of a torch bearer for real rock ‘n’ roll. Arriving at the venue in time to catch Sydney up and comers, Release The Hounds, there are a hard-core of fans in tow to eat up their brand of blue collared/no frills rock n roll.  Reference points are AC/DC & Rose Tattoo, and with a set of catchy, original hard rocking tunes, these guys are on the rise and one band to look out for.

1493042895231By the time Dan Baird & Homemade Sin hit the stage at 9.45 pm, the room has filled with a moderate but enthusiastic crowd keen to witness a couple of hours of unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll.  Let’s also call it real rock n roll for unreal times. I’m at the bar charging my glass when Dan launches into the first chords of ‘Licka Sense’. I make my way to the front of the stage and position myself bang smack in front of the great Warner E Hodges. I never get tired of watching this cat play guitar, he is just so good, a showman and entertainer to boot. Speaking of boots – I notice he is wearing his distinct green cowboy boots and spurs. Like I’ve said on previous occasions, Hodges is cooler than Fonzie.

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin have been working with a set list for a month and a half- yet tonight, no set list. Dan is selecting the songs as he goes. It’s gonna be a fun night! There is an enthusiastic crowd response and the band feed off it. These guys consistently deliver the goods show after show – and set a high benchmark for themselves to deliver the best show they can. Tonight is no exception. Go search for any of their performances on youtube – you won’t find any dud performances their friends. Top shelf. Always.

From a 110 minute set there’s many highpoints – with a mix of new songs and old given an airing. Aside from ‘Licka Sense’, there are a bunch of tunes performed from the new album, ‘Rollercoaster’, and all sound hot. There’s ‘Love Gone Wong’, a rollicking ‘Shake It Til Its Sore’, the big hitting swagger of ‘Knocked Out Cold’, and the Zeppelinesque/Bad Company cross that is ‘Can You Hear Me Now’. Hodges is let loose on this one and is a joy to behold – and hear. What a tune. Shredding with feel – like no one else on the planet.

1493040499496.jpegThere is an absolute ball busting take of the epic ‘Crooked Smile’, from 2008’s debut ‘Homemade Sin’ album. This song is an out-and-out monster and reminds me of Neil Young jamming with Crazy Horse in the early 70s.  The song belongs to Warner Hodges – and is quite possibly the best 10 minutes of rock n roll that you are ever likely to see. In this brief period he finesses, shreds, bends, motors, taps and still finds time to throw his Les Paul over his shoulder! If you want to know why Hodges is so good – go watch this on youtube.  The rapturous response from the crowd tells me what I already knew – they got to see something just that little bit special. Why don’t more people know this song ? Go listen. It’s beyond superlatives.

‘Two For Tuesday’ is another highlight – oozing Fogertyisms and complete with a few bars of ‘Proud Mary’ thrown in for legitimacy. This tune has hit single all over it and like many things Baird has penned, is a melodic sing along, catchy and memorable.

1493042899515.jpegKeeping in mind that the band are without a set list, Hodges shows genuine delight when Dan launches into the first chords of ‘On My Way’, a deep cut off the superb Buffalo Nickel album. A technical issue sees him fixing his guitar rig mid song, yet the band never drop a note. An AC/DC devotee, Hodges tells the audience how Angus Young turned up at a Scorchers gig during their 1988 Australian tour and presented Warner with a wireless unit – which could have come in handy tonight!  The band then launch into ‘Julie & Lucky’ and ‘I Love You Period’, both from 1992’s ‘Love Songs’ LP, the latter charting in Australia. Not to be outdone by Hodges, drummer Mauro Magellan performs running repairs on his hi-hat mid song – without missing a beat! The guys a pro – a monster drummer, and quite the artist too.

‘Movin’ Right Along’, another should have been classic from the ‘Get Loud’ album sounds 1493040504449.jpeggreat to my ears and gets the girls up and grooving. As does ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’, a song no doubt many punters came to hear, and who instead left hearing a truckload of other lesser known Baird classics as well. ‘Hands’ climbed all the way to Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100, and was denied the top spot by Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’. Turn that  Night Ranger fan up to full!

The Satellites material sounds timeless – testament to the song writing. Its great to hear ‘Mon Cherie’ and ‘Hard Luck Boy’, both rippin’ tunes with Micke Nilsson thumping hard on bass and laying down the groove. He’s a bad-ass bass player, who continues to hold his own amongst his more illustrious and seasoned band mates.

Dan dedicates ‘Sheila’, to an old bandmate, Ginny Whittaker whom he played with in The Rabbits back in 1980. Only a couple days before, in an interview with The Australian Rock Show, Dan talked about aging and death, and how every day you open Facebook to hear of a notable passing. The moment is not lost on me.

The ultimate tribute/commentary to Carny folk, ‘Fairground People’ scores two thumbs up, before a punishing version of ‘Railroad Steel’ ends proceedings. What a killer set. For those that were there, this was 110 minutes of the best rock n roll you are ever likely to see. For those that weren’t, be sure to see the band on tour soon. The best rock n roll band in the world – without a shadow of a doubt – Dan Baird & Homemade Sin.

Listen to an interview with Dan Baird on The Australian Rock Show from April 2017 here

Read Cowboy Col’s review of ‘Rollercoaster’, the 2017 album of the year.

Read why Cowboy Col considers Dan Baird & Homemade Sin to be the best band in the world.

all images (c) Colin Gray/Cowboy Col.

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Cherie Currie: The Queen of Noise hits Sydney (photo: D.Gray)

The California summer may never end, but tonight in downtown Sydney – it was a cold and chilly wind that greeted me when I arrived at Sydney University’s Manning Bar for a dose of Cherie Currie flavoured rock n roll.

I never in my wildest dreams, thought Cherie would jet downunder, yet here we are – half way through a run of gigs in both New Zealand and Australia. I for one, am appreciative. If you search this blog, you will correctly conclude I have been a Runaways disciple (and vocal supporter) for decades. In fact, 1977’s Waitin’ For The Night is forever etched in my top ten favourite records of all time. So again, having Cherie Currie announce a tour of Australia some months back was welcome news.

With no fanfare (or intro tape for that matter) – Currie and band crash the stage with a blistering take of ‘American Nights’. Kim Fowley wrote some mighty infectious songs throughout his life – and this is up there with the best of em, still sounding as potent as ever some forty years after he and former Hollywood Star Marc Anthony co-penned it.

The Velvet Underground classic ‘Rock n Roll’ figures in Runaway-history way back to when they were a trio – (Joan, Sandy and Micki Steele) and is aired next. Although considered sacrilegious by some to say anything negative about the Velvet Underground
– I will nevertheless take the risk and reiterate the long held belief of many – The Runaways’ recording of Rock n Roll from 1976 stomps all over the original – closely followed in my opinion by Mitch Ryder and Detroit’s interpretation from 1972. Ms Currie belts this out like it’s 1977 and the Sydney set are diggin’ it.

‘Rock n Roll Rosie’ – penned for the upcoming Suzi Quatro film is cool and catchy – and littered with lyrics expressing Currie’s admiration for one of Detroit’s finest. If you get ahold of Currie’s just-released ‘Midnight Music in London’ album – check out this one out closely as Quatro herself joins Cherie on stage for a guest stint. Two thumbs up from Mr Rockbrat.

The frenetic ‘Dear Mum’ is shadowed by a thumping ‘Is It Day Or Night’. I’ve always dug Fowley’s cryptic lyrics on this – ‘Porcupine kiss, novacaine lips’ – how the hell he came up with lines like that is beyond my comprehension. Most punters tonight seem familiar with the tune so I’m guessing the Runaways debut LP would be in their iTunes (modern talk for K-tel Record Selector)…

Y’know one of the best things to come out of the Runaways film – apart from turning kids onto the band – was that the youngsters got hipped to artists like Bowie and the great Nick Gilder. Tonight Cherie and band crank out a heavied-up take of Gilder’s ‘Roxy Roller’ and it’s a
night highlight. Man Nick Gilder had some tunes didn’t he !? Cherie’s rendition of ‘Roxy Roller’ smokes and her recorded version you can hear on her upcoming album due out in September.  Yes, finally – Blackheart Records will release the new Cherie Currie album (applause). About time.

I return from the bar just as Cherie cranks a bunch of my favourite Runaways tunes: “Heartbeat”, “Queens of Noise”, ‘California Paradise’ and a stunning “Midnight Music”. Currie’s voice is stonger than ever by the way – the proof is there for all to hear – especially in songs like the raging California Paradise. Currie knows how to work an audience so well, and I am beginning to think I shoulda got a ticket for another show as well. Darn it.

The impact David Bowie had on Cherie Currie is immense – life changing, and the couple of Bowie songs she performed in his honor tonight were heart felt and emotion charged. A visibly upset Cherie momentarily paused and spilled tears during a stunning rendition of Lady Grinning Soul. In many years of seeing live music, this is one moment I will treasure – nothing staged or pretentious, just warm and real. “Rebel Rebel” follows fast and man it’s good. Bowie would be smiling. So too Mick Ronson – whose contributions to much of
Bowie’s work must never be underestimated…(isn’t the integral piano part contained in Lady Grinning Soul played by Ronno?!)

Incidentally, if you view The Runaways movie – you’ll see Dakota Fanning performing Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul at the school talent show and have food thrown at her… Cherie tonight re-corrects this with “actually I did 1984 and I won that fuckin’ show”. So there you go readers. For what it’s worth I reckon “1984” from Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album woulda been a better choice for Fanning to do…and it woulda kept the story straight.

“Believe” – lifted off the recent Reverie album is an album highlight and is aired tonight to welcoming ears. Maybe I’m all Kiss-ed out but I could do without the cover of Kiss’ Do You Love Me. Yep, thanks Sherlock, I am aware it’s another Fowley co-write, but as a life-long Kisser,  I could pass on this. Whoever does Cherie’s set-list, strike a line through the
Kiss cover and replace it with Russ Ballard’s Since You’ve Been Gone will ya !? Or how about the Roni Lee/Kim Fowley stomper ‘I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are’ ? ! Hell yeah !!!

The hour long set closes with a fiery “Cherry Bomb”. It’s become an anthem, and deservedly so.  It’s a memorable ending.

In closing let me state this: Cherie Currie is the real rock n roll deal. A trail blazer. If you know your facts – you’ll know her life has had many challenges, but Currie remains strong and is an inspiration to many. I have seen many great nights of live rock n roll, and tonight’s show by Cherie Currie is up there with the best of em.

Hear an interview conducted with Cherie on the eve of her Australian tour here

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Orianthi - Adelaide Dec 2014

Orianthi – the homecoming queen of shred – under lights – and in the rockbrat lens !

Christmas came early for the lucky few who nabbed a ticket to Orianthi’s hometown gig last Sunday 21st December, cos they witnessed some Australian rock n roll history (nope, I ain’t referring to beau Richie Sambora guesting with her either). See, Ori rarely does solo shows downunder, and this performance was by an artist at the very top of her game.
I saw her at Sydney’s Enmore as part of Sambora’s band back in  February – and although she shined, I really wanted to see her headline – which would give me the chance to see if she’s worthy of  all the accolades. After lengthy flight delays, I finally stand in this sweaty  live venue (Hindmarsh’s Gov) nursing a pint of Coopers and await the arrival of the Queen of Shred. Not being a Crow-Eater, openers –  The Stefan Hauk Band were a complete unknown to me, but I was soon very impressed. This solid three-piece belted out some quality blooze – winning over a room-full of guitar-geeks with a tight set of original tunage. Hauk is a name to file away folks. At around 9:30pm, Miss Orianthi storms the stage – kicking off a sweaty 2 hour set with ‘Heaven In This Hell’ – the title track from her most recent album. ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ from the Believe’ album is up next and it cooks. Was great to see Ori churning tunes out from that record – even ‘Think Like a Man’ with its heavy raunch chorus is played and is well received. Former Eurythmic Dave Stewart produced and co-wrote much of the material off ‘Heaven In This Hell’ – including the infectious ‘Filthy Blues’ – aired tonight to maximum effect – and the army of six-string geeks packed in this venue have smiles a mile wide. By the way, I never got around to reviewing ‘Heaven In This Hell’ but to summarize – it’s littered with catchy, guitar-fuelled tunes and is close to some of her most outstanding work.

Rumours are that next year, there is an album’s worth of material with Sambora to look forward to – but that being said, I ‘still’ do not think we have heard the best of Orianthi and am excited about what she will produce over the next 18 months or so. You can quote me on that too. The Desmond Child co-penned ‘Bad News’ gets cranked – beats me why this was never a radio hit – all the commercial ingredients are there, and is followed by Orianthi welcoming Richie Sambora to the stage. Saw him with Bon Jovi back on 87 and 89 tours and the guy is an amazing talent. His strong vocals were a massive, massive part of his former band’s sound and no matter what you may read or think, he is the real rock n roll deal. He and Ori run through the Nicks/Petty classic ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ which was a real surprise. They also blaze through Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ which gets the place high – however it was Orianthi I came to see – so dueting on her ‘You Don’t Wanna Know’ – as they’ve done at many shows this year – was much cooler. Incidentally, the band were comprised of guys who she’d played in a covers band with at 15 – which was a nice touch I thought. You gotta admire that about Orianthi – although a world-wide star, she remains unaffected and as humble as ever – qualities which are not often found in that world of fame. Encores were the popular, but seldom-played-live ‘According To You’ and the riff-laden ‘Sex E Bizarre’ – followed by the Coop’s ‘School’s Out’ (with Sambora)  – which was a nice acknowledgement of her former boss, who she’d spent a couple of years on the road with. ‘Voodoo Chile’ closes a very memorable evening – and was the stuff guitar-nerds fantasize about.

In three decades of seeing bands – tonight’s show easily makes my top 10. Yes, Orianthi deserves all the accolades (she was once referred to as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime musician’). She is gifted and can play anything. But be in no doubt, she has rock n roll pulsing through her veins and that for me, is essentially what it’s all about.

skynyrd_australiaLynyrd Skynyrd are just as important as the Rolling Stones.

That is a rock n roll fact. This was indeed Skynyrd’s first ever tour downunder, and a welcome one
at that. The guy in the seats in front has brought along his teenage daughters – both decked out in Skynyrd tees. I should really nominate him for Father of The Year – cos he has succesfully weened his kids onto the right kinda rock.
Well done friend. Melbourne outfit My Dynamite opened the show tonight and in a word and were impressive – grabbing the opportunity to perform on a large stage with both hands. Comparisons to the Black Crowes should be taken as a compliment – and it is re-assuring to know My Dynamite are around. As their set grew, so did their confidence – and they eventually had the majority of those in attendance hooked and on board. A name to make a note of.

My brother and I have long been Lynyrd Skynyrd disciples – in the very early 80’s we would play the ‘Gold & Platinum’ double album till the old Sanyo hi-fi exploded. It was an education which was indeed, life changing. From there the journey took us further – and what an amazing ride of discovery – 38 Special, Blackfoot, Van Zant and the amazing Rossington-Collins records. When the band reformed, I always had my fingers crossed for a tour – but to no avail – and our paths never crossed in the times when we trekked across the USA. But here we are at last. In the Sydney Entertainment Centre, on a humid summer’s evening – with a few thousand fellow rock fans – all standing at the ready – in the presence of gods, as it were.

I heed the call of the ‘show is starting alarm’ and find my seat. Screw that, I’m gonna stand I decide – and commence dancing to ‘Workin’ for MCA’ with a beer in one hand and a grin a mile wide. the stomping I Ain’t the One follows, then they air the title track from the album they are touring ‘Last of a Dyin’ Breed’. It cooks. The crowd are appreciative, and the band are on form. What’s Your Name, Gimme Back My Bullets, Down South Jukin’, That Smell, You Got That Right, Saturday Night Special, I Know a Little – it was a set-list to savour. The fan in front of me was in ballistic bliss – and who could blame him ? Ex-Black Crow Johnny Colt – who I’d last seen at the Hordern back in 92 fits the band well, and his Thunderbird bass grunt is a welcome addition. The shadow of Leon Wilkeson will always loom large, but Colt looks right at home. Simple Man is next and a definite highlight – how cool is Johnny Van Zant ? No dancing and prancing – like Malcolm, Angus, Wells and Co. The real deal. To his left stand Gary Rossington – a rock n roll icon. He leaves a lot of the lead work to Rickey Medlocke and Mark Matejka but commands your attention nonetheless. Tuesday’s Gone, a rollicking Gimme Three Steps, Call Me the Breeze are aired next – the set being closed with the obligatory Sweet Home Alabama. Skynyrd encore with Free Bird, and as I dance and play air guitar – in perfect sync with Medlocke – I feel the energy inside me – I am high on the true excess of pure rock n roll.

The houselights come on and I am soon wandering near the stage – hoping to snag a missed Rossington or Medlocke pick. No dice and no great drama neither – cos I
have the memory and it is one I will cherish. You see – rock n roll dreams do sometimes come true – and yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd are as important as the Stones. People should respect that. Rock n Roll.

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Laurie Marlow caught in the Rockbrat lens

Who: Angels/Black Label
Where: Vikings, Erindale A.C.T
When: Fri 8 March 2013

What’s that lyric in the Crue’s Kick Start My Heart ? ‘Some Years Gone By I’d Say We’ve Kicked Some Ass’ ?…. uh-huh. I was reminded of that when I recently spent an evening at the feet of the no-nonsense Angel – Rick Brewster – who shredded his way through hit after Angels hit – with a bunch of killer new tunes thrown in to the set as well. You see I was tempted to go see the once mighty Crue, in town supporting Kiss – but chose the Dave Gleeson-fronted Angels instead. Smart move Mr Rockbrat – smart move. You see whilst Motley continue to ply the ‘bad-ass-junkie’ card to remain vital – they have in fact – not kicked any ‘ass’ in donkey’s years – ahem. Unlike the mighty Angel City –  led by the black-clad Brewster brothers who are every inch – the real rock n roll deal. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Tonight’s gig sees western Sydney hard rock warriors Black Label open up proceedings. No posing. No pouting. Just loud, authentic no bullshit rock n roll – performed by guys who always deliver the goods. Formed 25 years back – Black Label have big, loud riffs, mean hooks and killer tunes to boot. Heavily influenced by Angus and Malcolm, the Rosie Tatts (and this evening’s headliners) their set is well received by the early arriving punters. Bassist Laurie Marlow and singer Steve Mulry have been playing the sweaty pub rock circuit for years – are held in high regard with the Rockbrat staff…and it was a pleasure to chat with them after the show. Bands like this are the real deal – and are in essence the very life blood of true Australian rock n roll. Black Label make current day Guns n Roses look like the Osmonds…..and you can quote me on that !

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Rick Brewster: black- clad and ice cool as always

The headline act are a part of me – I mean, who doesn’t dig the Angels – right ? I was, at first, skeptical about Dave Gleeson stepping into Doc’s shoes – but you know what ? The live-wire Screaming Jet looks right at home in this iconic Australian outfit – a band whom I consider just as important as AC/DC in the history of Australian music. Replacing a singer is often doomed to fail (INXS with Jon Stevens, Suze DeMarchi, Terence Trent D’Arby (insert random name here), Queen with Paul Rogers, The Faces with that fat idiot from Simply Red (Noel Gallagher’s description not mine!) etc etc. Where these outfits have failed – the Angels have succeeded. One song in and the evidence is there for all to see.

Gleeson has always had a great rock voice and in my opinion – has earned the right to sing these iconic tunes. His zany-ocker stage presence blends in well with the no-nonsense Brewsters and he is the perfect guy to take this band forward. My brain is still buzzing from the volume of Rick Brewster’s amp, but I can recall tunes like Shadow Boxer, Take A Long Line, Marseilles, No Exit, Face The Day, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, Devil’s Gate, Straight Jacket, Mr Damage and I Aint The One being belted out. This was indeed a night to cherish and I will be taking in more Angels gigs soon. Closing thoughts ? Wth Gleeson on board, a new album ‘Take It to the Streets’ in tow – and a set comprised of an astounding back-catalogue (with some new tunes thrown in too) there is plenty of life in the mighty Angels yet… Be sure to make an effort to see them when they play your town ! With no apologies to Nikki Sixx – if anyone has kicked ass in years gone by – it is this lot – yet they still can – and then some ! [Official Angels SiteBlack Label Australia]

The last couple of times I’ve seen Neil live, it’s become apparent to me that certain elements of the seniors crowd get a bit miffed that he doesn’t play more of the hits. Make no mistake. If you go to see Neil live expecting to hear Harvest top to bottom – you would be sadly mistaken. This ain’t Sweet Baby James, this is f….g Crazy Horse chum – and they still cut the mustard. Last time I saw Neil, I was seated. Bad move. How can you sit down at a Neil show ? It’s a rock n roll show for f….k sake, not Elton John punching out a tired version of Crocodile Rock. So on this occasion, Mr Rockbrat and I were on the floor – only 10 punters back from the front, and immediately in front of Poncho.  It’s a quiet crowd on the floor, with the oldies too old to mosh. Suits me fine nowadays. If you are Neil die hard, you either cop his leftist leanings and his eccentricities, or you don’t. If you’ve seen some of his films you’ll know what I mean. i.e.: His road crew are dressed as construction workers and mad professors in white coats – constantly haggling about the set up of the stage. It was funny for a bit – but it went on too long. That’s OK. Neil is Neil, I can cop his eccentricities. The set is kinda like the Live Rust set – giant amps, mic, harmonica etc etc. Live opening act you say ? Well, I caught The Drones for 30 seconds, before I buzzed back outside. What a sh_t band. At 8.40, Crazy Horse venture onto the stage, Neil picks up Old Black (which he’s been using since ’69) and launch into “Love and Only Love”, followed by “Powderfinger”. Superb. “Hole In The Sky”, a new tune that was only aired on this Australian tour is a tale about how we’ve screwed the planet. An acoustic version of “Heart Of Gold” saw plenty of the older folks remove the fingers from their ears, with Neil also playing an acoustic version of “Twisted Road”, from the Psychedelic Pill album. He played a few tunes off the new album, some checking in at 20 minutes. I don’t mind that, I can listen to Crazy Horse jam all day long. Some people like Metal Machine Music. Different strokes.  The catchy  “Born In Ontario” is a good un, as are “Walk Like A Giant” and  “Ramada Inn’, all off the new album. “Ramada Inn” got the nod of approval from Mr Rockbrat, a tune that checks in at 17-minutes and is on the scale of Like a Hurricane, it surveys a long-term relationship in the wake of grown up kids.  Neil takes to the piano for another new and unreleased tune, “Singer Without a Song”. There’s a brilliant take of “F   n Up”, and great version of “Cinnamon Girl” that had em up and dancing. A superb version of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr Soul” was a personal high point for me, and as Mr Rockbrat again pointed out to me, the riff sounds very familiar to “Jumping Jack Flash”. I reminded him that Mr. Soul was recorded in January and April 1967, Jumping Jack Flash recorded in March and April 1968, a full year apart – however, if anything, the riff in Mr Soul could be considered a straight take from “Satisfaction”. Neil did very much want to be the replacement for Brian Jones. Anyway, enough of the train spotting, were now into “My My  Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”, another good one. Does it get ANY better being a few metres from Neil, Poncho and Billy ? I mean, really. For men all in their late 60’s, (I think Billy and Ralph Molina are both 70 this year), their playing was rock solid, and their harmony vocals on the money.  The two encores were GREAT! A surprise version of “Prisoners of Rock and Roll” (from the Life LP) was killer, a tune he hasn’t played live since 2004, and then Opera Star (from 1981’s Re-ac-tor LP). At 5 past 11, it was all over. 2 hours and 5 minutes of the best rock n roll, from one of the best rock n roll bands – you are ever likely to hear.

Photo by Melissa Adams

Photo by Melissa Adams

In 1991, Perth band Baby Animals were hot property. With a debut album that went to #1 on the Australian charts, a white hot band, catchy songs and eye catching female front person, their future looked bright. They existed up until 96 and have been reformed since 2007. Some history ? Why not. As is well known, the band’s first gig was at the Kardomah Café in Kings Cross, a venue where Mr. Rockbrat and I saw many a band and indeed a Kings Cross sunrise. This first show was under the name of ‘Woody’s Heroes’, (they were managed by John Woodruff), and they changed their name to ‘Baby Animals’, after seeing an advertisement for a local TV show, Wheel of Fortune, hosted by ‘Baby John Burgess’. In August 1990, the band signed a publishing deal with SBK Songs (now EMI Songs). Whilst attending one of their gigs, Terry Ellis, president of the newly formed Imago Recording Company signed them to his label. His recollection of Suzi Demarchi was,  “she clearly had that indefineable magic that separates one artist from the crowd and makes them a star.”The band recordced their debut album with 70’s super producer Mike Chapman at the helm. Released in early 1991, the debut album was chock full of hits. “Early Warning”, “Rush You”, “Painless”, “One Word”,  . The album was the highest-selling debut Australian rock album until the release of Jet’s album twelve years later. After listening to the band’s album, Bryan Adams asked the band to join him on his European tour. The band then toured in the opening slot for Van Halen’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour” across America. Eddie Van Halen requested their presence after his wife Valerie heard their album, and suggested them. Sales of Baby Animals debut album reached 8 times platinum in Australia, and topped 800,000 worldwide. 500 shows later, the band took time out to record their follow up, 1993’s “Shaved and Dangerous”, produced by Ed Stasium. Supports with Robert Plant and then Extreme continued. At the time, the album didn’t grab me. Although I bought it, and it had some good tunes, it lacked the immediacy and melodic consistency of the debut album. So after the bands label folded, they followed suit in the mid 90s. They reformed in 2007 with all original members on board, though internal conflict saw the departure of Frank Celenza and Ed Parise. Since then,  Demarchi and guitarist Dave Leslie decided to continue with a couple of hand-picked Sydney musicians, Matt Cornell (bass/ vocals) (ex Adam Brand) and Mick Skelton (drums) (ex Wes Carr / Kevin Borich). Which brings me to the present. It’s 12 March, 2012, and Canberra Day in Australia’s capital. A public holiday. No excuces then not to make the effort to see the free outdoor gig down, with the Baby Animals on at 6.30. I arrived in time, purposely mind you, to miss the shit bands before them, including reggae hip hop Marvin Priest. Everybody knows – Cowboy Col HATES reggae. It was a small crowd, but that didn’t matter. The Baby Animals were GREAT live, playing a set that consisted on tunes primarily off their first two albums. Suzi Demarchi looks to be in incredible nick for a lass in her late 40’s. She’s the real deal – and she still kicks major ass. She mentioned several times that they were the ‘warm up’ act for teen pop sensations Shortstack. Nothing short of farcical. She rightly told the kids in the audience she was going to give them a rock n roll lesson. Youngun’s hate being told that – but she was right, and true to her word, she did just that. The last time I saw the Baby Animals was in early 92 at the Horden Pavillion with the Screaming Jets. 20 years later, they were still reminding me how great a band they are. Never let it be said that the Cowboy ain’t open minded. I hund around for 2 of Shortstacks tunes. Hey, it’s like the Osmonds for the 90s’. These clowns have all the moves. They’ve studied all their rockstar 101 videos and prance around the stage as if they’ve been at it for 20 years. The bass player had a headband on (?) and with his foot up on the monitor, he tried hard to show and all sundry that he is a genuine rock dude. Wrong on so many counts I cant be bothered tearing these dorks to pieces. The 10 year old girls at the front dug it. Anyway – if you get a chance, go see the Baby Animals if they come your way…..(thanks to Wikepdia for all the facts of this article)