Saturday night saw the triple bill of your 90s dreams hit Freo: The Fauves, Shonen Knife and Regurgitator. And all of us aging indie kids were in for a musical and visual treat.
Following a rather low key entry, most of us were unaware The Fauves were on stage until the first notes of Don’t Say When rang out. Arguably one of the most underrated bands to come from the Australian music scene, the crowd was pretty small to start with. That didn’t stop the group delivering the best banter of the evening, yelling “We are hungry for rock! That said, we are going to play this mild-mannered pop song” before launching into First Day On The Run. The jokes continued, as singer Andrew Cox dedicated a song to himself, “I’d like to thank… ME!” Medium Pacer went down a treat to the handful of fans at the front, as did Give Up Your Day Job. The band even did an encore, unheard of for a support, with Dogs Are The Best People.
Shonen Knife has basically been adopted by Australia, despite calling Osaka, Japan home. Dressed in matching primary colour dresses, they are like a 60s vision playing three-chord punk songs with a distinctly sweet twist. For example, their new album is called Sweet Candy Power and features songs about candy. Playing the title track they had the audience doing a bit of call and response, “amai, amai, amai” “CANDY!” (Amai means sweet in Japanese). Tracks like Banana Chips had us go-go dancing but don’t confuse the kawaii for a lack of guts, these women can rock out, and they did. Antonio Baka Guy, from their 1996 album Pretty Little Baka Guy proved that.
To show we were firmly in nostalgic territory, the screen behind the stage lit up with the face of Recovery’s Dylan Lewis (cue a massive swoon from all the women in attendance). His introductory video let the crowd know we were witnessing the 25th anniversary of Regurgitator meeting and we were in for a night of golden oldies, starting with Track 1 from their 1995 EP New. Dressed in matching pom pom outfits, their first set of three was rooted firmly in their early guitar-driven incarnation, with songs like Bong In My Eye, I Sucked A Lot of Cock To Get Where I Am, and crowd-pleaser Blubber Boy. Meanwhile, old film clips were screening behind them as they wrapped up set one with Kong Foo Sing, a dance floor fave which ensured the audience was getting nice and acquainted with each other i.e. sweating all over the place.
Another video played re-enacting how Quan and Ben met two and a half decades ago. Their younger selves wondered how they could blend rap and rock, which set the tone for set two and the band burst onto the stage in a rainbow of fluoro tracksuits. Rap rock is not for everyone, including this reviewer, but the crowd was still into it. First off the rank was Fat Cop from 2001s Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War On T-Wrecks. From memory, 2001 was the time the band lost a bit of clout with fans of their earlier music and right before their (in)famous bubble experiment. Much like that era in their career, this set wasn’t their best, but they did play I Will Lick Your Arsehole, which always solicits a laugh.
The band’s third set of the night was introduced by the one and only Tim Rogers! Already this set promised to be the best, and it was only improved further by the sparkling mirror ball suits the guys were now sporting. I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff certainly seemed a timely track to play! Also lifted from their Unit album was Everyday Formula, which had everyone boogying, not an easy feat considering it had been a 40-degree day! Polyester Girl kept up the momentum, but it was Black Bugs that proved an absolute highlight and let the band shred a little bit. A noodly guitar is always a crowd-pleaser. As the night wound down, the final set finished on a high with every single person in the place singing along to ! (The Song Formerly Known As).
However, if The Fauves were going to encore, you knew Regurgitator were going to. Before their swan song, an actual swan was projected on the screen accompanied by the theme from Swan Lake. So it only made sense the band pirouetted onto stage (and off the drum riser) in lit up tutus! A couple more songs to send us on our way, including I Wanna Be A Nudist and it’s fair to say everyone was spent. What a gig! If only there were more costumes in live music.
Photos by Adrian Thomson