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Live – Baby Animals with Steve Balbi, Perth, 2 November 2013

| 6 November 2013 | Reply

Baby Animals with Steve Balbi
Live at The Astor Theatre, Perth, Western Australia
Saturday 2 November, 2013
Review by Trulie & Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Shane Pinnegar
Steve Balbi, wild hair intact, brings his A game for a classy set that breathes a lot of life into his brand spankin’ solo record Black Rainbow.

Really, it’s such a shame that so few showed up early, and that so few of them had bothered to familiarise themselves with the ex-Noiseworks guy’s debut solo record, but while they rudely jibber jabbered up the back, those who invested their attention were rewarded with a highly nuanced and at times quite beautiful set.

Balbi joked about there always being a heckler calling out for his former band’s songs, and when he does play Touch Somebody it is rendered on a completely different palette – slower, quieter, sadder – even if he does get snippy before the song with one guy whose beer intake rendered him obnoxiously oblivious to the hint.

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New tracks Protection, Sweet Sabotage (he says he’s getting out of his own way nowadays rather than being so self destructive) and Sometimes all show a quietness to Balbi – even with his full band in tow – that we suspect wouldn’t have been there in his Wildman days, while Be My Guide rocks out with Seventies near-funk precision.
By the time the lights have gone down again for expat Perth girl Suze DeMarchi and the reformed and realigned Baby Animals, the crowd had swelled considerably, but there was still plenty of room to move at The Astor.

Baby Animals Live Perth 02 Nov 2013 by Shane Pinnegar  (5)

Showcasing a setlist that leaned equally heavily on new album This Is Not The End and fan-voted favourites, DeMarchi and old comrade Dave Leslie, along with newly minted rhythm section Dario Bortolin and Mick Skelton (who also played on Balbi’s record) hit the ground on fire with an energy not seen or heard since, well, since the band’s early nineties heyday.

A full nine of the eleven tracks on the latest record made the cut – perhaps a couple too many at the end of the day, with half of their million selling debut represented, and only three tracks from under rated second album Shaved & Dangerous.

Highlights were plentiful, and despite a few more of the early songs being wanting, the audience proved surprisingly (or loyally) familiar with the majority of the new material, and with the title track from DeMarchi’s solo album Tele-Love, which got a rare live outing.

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With DeMarchi pointing out that the gig was ‘coming home in more ways than one’, she explained that she had played her first ever live show at a long-gone venue just across busy Beaufort Street, long before the fruitless year or two in London fighting EMI’s push towards pop stardom, the heady rush of rock fame, and the years raising a family in The States married to Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt.

The gig was as much fun on stage as off, with the singer dedicating Don’t Tell Me What To Do to her sister and niece in the front row, playing a couple of tracks requested by fans at soundcheck (Hot Air Balloon from the new record was a smouldering standout, at times slowing to a molten grind), and ‘feeding the birds’ – dribbling red wine into the front row’s mouths like a bird feeder, an act which lent it’s name to the national tour itself.

It’s not all fun n’ games though – Email is introduced as ‘when someone dumps you by email… you write a song about it and release it as a single!’, before Dave Leslie shreds a hot solo on main set closer Early Warning.

The encore delivered One Too Many from their debut and Winters Day from the latest record – songs recorded twenty years apart yet both sounding distinctively Baby Animals, the latter with perhaps more mature restraint, soon dispelled with their final track, Ain’t Gonna Get, as big a fuck you now as it was upon release in 1991.

This is home grown Aussie rock n’ roll done right, and we can only hope that This Is Not The End proves a prophetic album title, and they come back around for another blast very soon.
Set List:
Under Your Skin
Got It Bad
Rush You
Working For The Enemy
Bonfires
Warm Bodies
Invisible Dreamer
Painless
Don’t Tell Me What To Do
Tele-Love
Stitch
One Word
Hot Air Balloon
Feed The Birds
Backbone
Email
Early Warning

One Too Many
Winters Day
Ain’t Gonna Get

 

Shane

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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