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Charles Hotel

Saturday, May 30, 2015


This While the bright lights and beautiful people were milling about the centre of Perth for State Of The Art, Dave Warner was treading the boards at the Charles Hotel doing what he’s done on and off for 40 years: ruling the suburbs with his iron wit.


A singular talent, The Boy From Bicton can lay claim to being punk before punk was a thing, with his early band PUS, creating his own niche genre in Suburban Rock, releasing a slew of records to critical acclaim.


Without ado Warner took to the stage for the first of four sets, each exploring a different era of his musical development. With members of bands past, anecdotes from his career and favourite after favourite, the near-full Charles Hotel rings of suburban rock once again.


Tony Durant, Phil Bailey, Lloyd Gyi, Haydn Pickersgill, John Dennison, Howie Johnstone and Murray Campbell all make an appearance, and big cheers are reserved for two members of The Suburbs who are no longer with us: early collaborator Alan Howard and ‘the late, great Johnny Leopard’.


Warner occasionally jumped behind his vintage Teisco keyboard for a track or two, prowling the stage like the ex-punk he is the rest of the time.


Car Park, Wimbledon, Bicton Breezes, Sidewalk Surfin’, African Summer, Half Time At The Football,  –  still, like many of Warner’s songs, so quirky and anti-commercial, so punk in their individuality and non-conformist attitude.


By the third set Dick Haynes – who went on to considerable local success with Loaded Dice – joined on bass and vocals for a set from PUS – arguably the world’s first punk band.


Starting with a cover of The Fugs’ Slum Goddess, the Haynes-sung I Wanna Get You In My Bed, a raucous version of Girls Wank and Hot Crotch, and the near-mythical Throbbing Knob, with its chanted chorus that would make most of the audience’s kids blush.


As if all that wasn’t enough, set four featured a roar through some of Warner’s rockier and most-loved tunes from his first four albums.


This was the set which showed how Warner developed into an insightful songwriter, a storyteller who at his best was on a par with Mick Thomas, Paul Kelly or Tim Rogers.


Convict Streak, Strange Night, Joey Black, Old Stock Road, Bicton Vs Brooklyn and Suburban Boy all shed light on the ‘70s way of life in WA’s ‘burbs.


Mugs Game served as the final encore for a massively enjoyable night, Warner updating his legendary underground rant hilariously, before the suburban army headed home, sweaty and happy, to the outer suburbs.



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