It’s fitting that when the Fremantle Festival’s 10 Nights In Port celebrated the Port City this month, the seminal Cinema Prague line up graced the stage for the first time in two decades. Fremantle was the scene of many of their greatest triumphs, with many still regaling tales of dark sweating rooms with the fussy trio being the soundtrack to their youth.
Experimental instrumental rockers Yomi Ship were the perfect choice to aurally welcome punters to the venue. The local youngsters were probably playing to their oldest audience to date and would have won over a few like-minded souls with their dynamic art rock. Shielding his face with a bandana and hoodie, drummer Nick Osborne is captivating because he gives the impression that he is just winging it as the tunes evolve. Yomi Ship were menacing at times and light in others with tunes that had more personalities than a locked ward.
While the crowd were showing the years, the three members of Cinema Prague came to the stage as if they had been raised by elves, looking every bit the same outfit that called Fremantle home two decades ago. Settling into some familiar riffs early, the trio then went on to play plenty of their “songs about silly things”. Hangman and Jump For Joy sounded fresher than they should, as the band soon became accustomed to playing on such a large stage.
Drummer Tim Lowe was wearing gloves, which signaled that the band weren’t doing anything by halves as the almost two hour set would attest. George Kailis (guitar, vocals) got ahead of himself when announcing Boogie, before he was reminded that he had skipped something on the setlist. We Are The Moo Moo has long been a crowd favourite and it was delivered with extra gusto before the aforementioned Boogie was given a feel good airing.
The Cinema Prague trademarks of gymnastic riffs, charismatic bass runs, dynamic drumming, off-kilter harmonies and absurd lyrics were all present on one of the outfit’s quintessential tunes, Snakes Alive. While the band were reigniting muscle memory, the crowd were reliving nights that had been long forgotten. Rex Horan (bass) was at pains to thank all who attended, in what he saw as more of a shared experience than a performance. It was obvious he was having a ball.
Lowe took a rare opportunity to sing lead vocals on a bluesy rendition of Rose Sun P. Horan became more animated as the show went on, discarding his jacket, gyrating his hips and stroking his ample beard. Say It’s The Day was a highlight and has lost night of its melodic appeal, while Dumped Again told a familiar tale to all who have spent time on the local beaches. Horan ended the set with a triumphant rendering of Finale.
Cinema Prague still had plenty of material to share. Other bands have played shorter sets in duration than the evening’s encore, but the trio were keen to celebrate in style. Songs and hugs were shared and the three old friends on stage appeared to have had the time of their lives. In an era when Perth was being touted as a power pop haven, Cinema Prague bought punk rock roots to their progressive brand of rock. To say that Cinema Prague were well ahead of the curve is a serious understatement. Last Friday night proved that they still are.
Photos by Sparks Will Fly