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Hoodoo Gurus - Photo by JF Foto
Hoodoo Gurus – Photo by JF Foto

British India/Jebediah/Ratcat

Scarborough Beach Amphitheatre, 

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Hoodoo Gurus have cleverly value-added their tours over the past few years, and this special one-off Be My Guru outing on the sandy shores of Scarborough Beach was unique in that every past and present member of the band would be playing.

They start the night with their earliest Les Hoodoo Gurus incarnation of Dave Faulkner, guitarists Roddy Radalj and Kimble Rendall, and drummer James Baker, playing supercharged country riffs through Arthur, Dig It Up and a couple of unreleased numbers – Voodoo You and Too Bad, She’s Bad – that were never recorded until brand new EP Gravy Train.

The Stoneage Romeos line-up is next, with bassist Clyde Bramlett and guitarist Brad Shepherd joining Faulkner and Baker for some of their debut album classics, including My Girl, Tojo and I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, before Baker swaps out with Richard Kingsmill to run through tracks from Mars Needs Guitars including Bittersweet, What’s My Scene and Like Wow, Wipeout! Rick Grossman then joins the stage to replace Bramlett, and this is the 1988 line-up that has remained constant ever since. From here the chronological aspect of the show goes out the window as they run through Come Anytime,  1000 Miles Away, The Right Time and Miss Freelove ’69.

Some shorts-and-tee-shirts punters exited early as the biting evening cold wind took its toll, but those who persevered enjoyed a great set of Hoodoos classics and, indeed, an entire afternoon of fantastic Australian music.

Earlier, to help the late-Spring sun warm up the crowd, British India flew the flag for modernity, though it only took a few songs to hear that they were very much schooled in the same musical vein as the older bands on show.

With the Indian Ocean shimmering enticingly a few meters behind the stage, Jebediah bounced excitedly onto the stage like the teenagers they were when we first fell in love with their irrepressible tunes. Kevin Mitchell has such a natural, easy going rapport with the crowd that even a few early electric shocks to the lips through his microphone couldn’t dim his enthusiasm, nor that of effervescent bassist Vanessa Thornton, who literally doesn’t stop still for the entire set. Animal, Harpoon and Please Leave all garner enthusiastic approval from the ever-growing home-town crowd, before ending on a high with Leaving Home and Teflon.

On their last trip to the west coast around 20 years ago, Ratcat  played to the Perth Concert Hall full of screaming girls. Those girls are older now but a fair few of them were still screaming for the fuzzed out perfect pop of favourites That Ain’t Bad, Go Go, Tingles, Blind and the dark space epic Getting Away From This World, sung by Kevin Mitchell, who declares Ratcat “the best fucking Australian band, EVER!” Simon Day – sliver thin and wearing a broad grin – evokes rocket engine grunge, before they wrap up with the sun sinking and a chilly wind picking up, playing Don’t Go In The Water – with Mitchell on guitar – and the unbeatable Don’t Go Now as a particularly appropriate climax to a fantastic set. Let’s hope it’s not another 20 years before they return.

It wasn’t over yet though – all present and former Gurus members took to the stage as The Supergurus for an encore run through – of course – their debut single Leilani, complete with enthusiastic UMGAWAs, before finishing up with their version of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love, renamed Hoodoo You Love for an early b-side. You can’t beat that – cold wind or not.



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