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| 25 July 2013 | Reply

Featuring The Hoodoo Gurus, Blue Oyster Cult, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Buzzcocks, and many more
The Enmore Theatre and surrounds, Sydney
Sunday 21 April 2013
By Shane Pinnegar

Dig It Up Sydney 2013

TUMBLEWEED take opening honours on the Enmore Theatre stage for this, the second annual instalment of Hoodoo Gurus/Feel Presents Dig It Up Invitational mini festival, which will culminate some ten hours later with the Gurus having played their second album Mars Needs Guitars in it’s entirety.

We’ve a lot of ground to cover between now and then, though, and our favourite Aussie 90’s stoner rockers have the early starters shaking heads and legs with their heavy as bricks yet infectiously mighty tunes. Singer Richie Lewis shakes himself about like Chris Robinson gone to the dark side of the Force, hair flailing and body jerking spasmodically in between verses as the band blast through favourites Sundial (Mary Jane), Hang Around, Carousel and more. It’s hard to believe it’s only half past one in the afternoon such is the crushing wall of grooves filling the room and air raid spotlights flashing around, and a finale of Daddy Long Legs draws an early round of applause.
We trip up the road to familiarise ourselves with the lay of the land and catch a few raucous numbers by raw punk rockers THE FIGHTING LEAGUE at the Sly Fox.
Back at the Enmore THE PETER CASE BAND proved the surprise of the day with a set of near-perfect power-pop drawn from Case’s solo years, the punky Nerves and the Gurus’ power-pop favourites The Plimsouls. Starting with a swampy instrumental while the tech guys got the bass amp up to speed, the former Nerves singer and band ripped into How Long Will It Take, a fiery garage workout through The Easybeats’ Women, The Nerves tracks Paper Dolls and Every Day, It’s A Great Big World from his first record with The Tombstones and The Breakaways number House On The Hill. A Million Miles Away, The Plimsouls track featured in the Nicolas Cage movie Valley Girl, was a highlight, featuring Case relating the story that it soundtracked a scene where Cage screws his date in a nightclub toilet, then wanders off on drugs through a field. “Funnily enough, that’s EXACTLY what I had in mind when writing it!” Case announces sarcastically. It’s great to find an artist with such a rich history and we’ll be stocking up on his back catalogue very soon.
BLACKIE may be better known as the master of punk-shred with Punchbowl’s ragamuffin/legends the Hard-Ons, but in solo mode he’s all about a particularly personal take on acoustic folk, all intimate whispery vocals and delicate picking. Algebra + Calculus from his latest LP No Dangerous Gods In Tunnel and several new songs all impressed in the sardine-tin Midnight Special café.
LIME SPIDERS singer Mick Blood is in snarly form today, throwing his mic stand to the ground more than once as drums need weighting down and foldback issues are dealt with slowly. He comes across as a resolute but fragile soul, undeniably passionate and still has an insane punk/metal/indie abrasive rasp to his voice as the band tear and throb through Out Of Control, My Favourite Room, Volatile, Dead Boys, Action Woman and the mighty, mini-classic Slave Girl. By the time he prowls the stage screaming “I carry my pride like a burning cross/ I won’t give it up at any cost” in Save My Soul, no-one is in any doubt.
The Midnight Special was so overfull that there was no hope of getting in to see Radio Birdman legend DENIZ TEK in solo mode, so 100% ROCK MAG high-tailed it straight back to The Enmore to catch the Bo Diddley beat of Mr Misery opening THE STEMS set. Through a pitch perfect 45 minutes of power pop, Dom Mariani presided over the ever-fuller theatre, delivering one infectious jangle-pop guitar groove after another – For Always, I’m Gonna Leave You Far Behind, Sad Girl and the “extra feel good vibe” of At First Sight all kept feet and heads moving.

Second guitarist Ash Naylor, bassist Julian Matthews and drummer Dave Shaw all provide excellent backing to Mariani, as they cheery pick a set from debut single Make You Mine through to instantly singable new tune Hellbound.
THE BUZZCOCK;s provide a blast of original, snotty, UK punk rock, all barre chords and vitriol – albeit somewhat diminished with the passing of time. Amongst others, I Want You On Top Of Me, The Girl From The Chain Store, Noise Annoys, You Say You Don’t Love Me and No Promises all see Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle sharing vocals and thrashing their guitars. The classic John Peel favourite Ever Fallen In Love With Someone retains all the venom and despair it ever did.
San Francisco’s legendary psych garage popsters THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES take the stage casually, and continue that way through a set that was more second rate Byrds cover band than exciting garage legends. Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson were there in San Francisco in 1967 – Ground Zero for rock n’ roll in the U.S. – but sadly the Kaboom is lacking at this gig, as energy levels never rise above the complacent through Tallahasee Lassee, You Tore Me Down and I Can’t Hide. A spirited Slow Death and Shake Some Action help but by the pointy end of the set the clearly disappointed crowd’s energy levels couldn’t be resurrected enough to turn things around.
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT are an institution in black led by original wildmen Eric Bloom (keyboards) and Buck Dharma (guitar/vocals), with the rest of the (new) crew upholding the legend enormously well. BÖC were always the least metal of the metal bands, and the butt of more than a few jokes – but cowbells aren’t high on tonight’s agenda and frankly it’s criminal to only see them play a 45 minute set, mini-festival or not.

The Red & The Black, the sublime Burnin’ For You and ME262’s triple guitar shredfest may lead some of the hipsters in the crowd to head for “cooler” alternatives, but the rockers stayed and were well rewarded on this, the band’s first ever Australian tour. Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll and Then Came The Last Days Of May continued the classic material-only policy, before the ridiculously overblown Godzilla and irresistible (Don’t Fear) The Reaper closed The Cult’s set out in awesome fashion.
The HOODOO GURUS finally took to the stage accompanied by the theme to 2001 A Space Odyssey, fitting considering the band are playing their much-loved second album Mars Needs Guitars in its entirety tonight. The band and this album are landmarks in the Australian rock landscape, from the pure pop of Bittersweet and Show Some Emotion (the latter introduced “this is a pop song – if you don’t like pop, fuck off”), Poison Pen’s bluesy harmonica courtesy of guitarist Brad Shepherd tonight, Like Wow, Wipeout!’s madcat garage freakout to Hayride To Hell’s country stomp/lament.

Shepherd, sporting trippy hippy splendour, treats die-hards by singing the dark blues B-side Bring The Hoodoo Down, before handing the mic back to Dave Faulkner, resplendent in suit & tie, to close out with the brutally tribal title track and a feedback-drenched She, leaving the only thing missing their other classic era b-side Turkey Dinner.

The album alone isn’t going to pacify the over-stimulated crowd though, so they extend the set by airing some classics – What’s My Scene, Crackin’ Up, The Right Time, A Thousand Miles Away, I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, Miss Freelove and even a solo take on My Girl. Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson join The Gurus for a garage rip through The Groovies Teenage Head – conspicuous by its absence earlier in the evening – and it’s abundantly obvious that not only are The Hoodoo Gurus playing better than ever, but also that Dig It Up! is a fantastic exercise and one we can only hope will stretch to a third outing in 2014.

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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