Hoodoo Gurus/You Am I @ The Astor Theatre
Friday, August 4, 2017
The You-Do-Gurus tour paired two of the most enduring Australian bands of the past 30 years in a rollicking jaunt across our country. Whilst it was a celebration of the relationships between the two bands that started with a tour in 1994, where they sandwiched Redd Kross between them, it could also have been billed as a title fight of rock and roll versus pop music.
Coming to the stage all dressed in black, there was no mistake as to who was on the rockin’ side of the ledger when You Am I launched into Junk. Their setlist would comprise of many of the band’s greatest hits and would move along at a brisk rate only to be interspersed with banter from a playful Tim Rogers throughout. The wiry Rogers was in the type of stellar form that places him in the top three frontmen in the country as he gyrated, showed of a pair of gold platform boots that would make Kisstake’s (and former X-Press Editor) Bob Gordon drool, and pulled out his signature windmills with reckless abandon.
Lead guitarist Davey Lane had an instrument malfunction during Soldiers that rendered him silent. When he was given a new guitar and played the final few bars, the chipper Rogers implied that it was nice of him to join them, and joked “people have been asking for the classic three piece for years”. A fair chunk of the set was made up of much loved tunes from their Hi Fi Way and Hourly Daily period, before a faithful take on Cheap Trick’s I Want You To Want Me was met with a greater cheer than expected, leaving them to end with the explosive Berlin Chair.
You Am I play rock and roll the way it should be played: with swagger, attitude and a whole lot of danger rolled into a good time. Even with a non-existant light show, muddy support band mix and less than half the time slot the Hoodoos got (leaving some to ask why it was billed as a double headline – it clearly wasn’t), You Am I stole the show.
The Hoodoo Gurus are royalty on the Australian music scene and people certainly come out of the woodwork to see them play. Sold out shows are a given when they take to the stage and it is their brand of reliable tunes that are steeped in youthful memories that still carry them through to this day. The members are older but no less recognisable, even if the paisley shirts have been toned down a notch or two over the years.
Mining a vast back catalogue can’t be an easy task but they were on pretty safe footing with Place In The Sun, Tojo and Another World all getting an early look. The guitars were again a bit on the muddy side, but it was a minor complaint for a band who put on a seasoned display. The headliners got the best of the light display as well as a backdrop that showed projections of their record covers throughout the night, and were treated with more volume than the openers.
The hard hitting Mark Kingsmill looks awkward on the kit, without letting it affect his efficiency. The high octane moments like Crackin’ Up were interspersed with more melodic tunes. Come Anytime is a classic sing along moment, and Miss Freelove 69 saw beers being spilled in the crowd as the dancing took up a notch whilst Brad Shepherd showed of some impressive guitar work. Speaking of Shepherd, the bands heartthrob these days looks like the quintessential villain from a 80s Reg Grundy cop show.
The encore had MTV favourite What’s My Scene give way to the iconic Like Wow – Wipeout, before Tim Rogers and Davey Lane joined the stage for Jumpin Jack Flash. Built for the part, Rogers channelled his inner Mick Jagger as he jogged on the spot and strutted his stuff to steal the show for the second time that evening.
Photos by Linda Dunjey Photography