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You Am I

you-am-iAstor Theatre
Saturday, July 13, 2013

It was that kind of night. The kind of night where if you weren’t seeing your own life flashing before your eyes, you were watching your friends’ lives flash past theirs, or some familiar stranger’s lifetime-ago waving at them from the rafters.

It was all verses and vignettes, the songs 1995-96 songs of Tim Rogers delivered with verve and gusto by You Am I and received with gratitude by a sold-out audience who very clearly had grown up (whatever that means these days) on the band’s classic Hi Fi Way and Hourly, Daily albums.

With a three-hour show to deliver in two extended sets, support acts aren’t go this tour so Saturday Night ‘Round 10 was an unusually early 8.15pm this evening for You Am I. Chronology made way for energy, as the more introspective Hourly Daily album was served as the opening gambit, with a cellist readying her bow as Rogers quietly swaggered to the microphone with 3/4 acoustic guitar to kick off with the moving, yet rarely ever heard title tune. The crowd fell in, hook line and singer from that get-go, as Messrs. Hopkinson, Kent and Lane strode onto the stage, raising sweat during the stirring likes of Good Mornin’, Mr Milk, Flag Fall $1.80 and Wally Raffles and deftly caressing the poignant moods of If We Can’t Get It Together, Heavy Comfort and Please Don’t Ask Me To Smile.

‘So this is what happens when you play the songs people want to hear’ commented the cheeky, chatty Rogers. ‘Well, never again!’ he added, with a Disney villain laugh. Clearly, though, he’s enjoying the run of full-houses across the nation, though he clearly feels his WA roots. ‘You always got us Perth. I could always tell by the way you dance’.

A short intermission saw multiple beers brought forth – though strangely none of the new Brew Am I blend – back into the theatre for round two. Hi Fi Way was, among many things, about intelligent, pedal-down energy though its opener, Ain’t Gone And Open, was rendered intently esoteric as ever, especially with the recreation of the false start as featured on the original record. Much of the album was delivered as the skinny-lined ‘95 trio, with Lane adding keyboard touches and guitar flourishes as necessary. And while the sing-along factor was impressive during the Hourly, Daily set, the Mt Lawley choral massive sung themselves hoarse through Minor Byrd, Cathy’s Clown, Purple Sneakers and How Much Is Enough?

So what does Australia’s hardest working band do when they’ve just played two albums back-to-back? They play some more. From #4 Record came Opportunities (for passionate nerds, apparently) before bounding right back to ‘94 with Berlin Chair, Sound As Ever, Adam’s Ribs and their take on Mose Allison’s Young Man’s Blues.

Nostalgia is a funny ole thing, innit? This band should be playing full-house theatre shows every time they step out, but it took a ‘favourite albums’ gesture to bring the fallen-away back (and keep pleasing the faithful). On this occasion, however, nostalgia was transcended with passion – and that’s what R.O.C.K. is all about. God bless the fuckin’ lot of us.

And sheesh… can’t Rusty play those drums?

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