Earlier this year I was heartbroken when You Am I, the greatest Australian band of the last twenty years, announced they were doing a tour playing the music of legendary ‘made up’ band Spinal Tap, but it would not be coming to Adelaide. As far as brilliant proposals go, this has to be another level of genius. You Am I have often flirted with the line between brilliance and rock god pomposity themselves, always on their own terms and often jumping over the line and back in the blink of an eye. Spinal Tap likewise are dismissed as a ‘joke’ band, yet have a cannon of fantastic music full of hooks and riffs catchy melodies and sing-a-long vocals. Part of the reason their parody of a metal band is so loved is the music is 100% bang on. So here we have the rock band who teases the pomp of rock parody playing the parody bands great music.
You Am I seem to be taking 2018 as a working holiday from their own projects. They just finished an Eastern states tour as backing band for 60’s soul singer PP Arnold. They are touring the music of Spinal Tap and later this year Tim Rogers will reprise his role in The White Album concert. I am certainly not complaining and it is a great way to keep playing with your band, without it being all YAI business as usual. It seems to be working a treat because they are all having a great time and rockin’ harder than ever.
And let’s be clear, this show has humour and music but Cabaret Schmabaret, this was a rock’n’roll gig. With more bells and whistles than a regular YAI gig at The Gov for instance. There are smoke machines, projections. Tim is wearing blue crushed velvet pantaloons. Davey Lane has a leopard print shirt and eye-liner on. Andy Kent is wearing a sleeveless You Am I shirt in the style of the Tap logo (sadly not for sale in the foyer – although they do have YAI Tap guitar pick sets – cool!).
They kick off with Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight and crank right into The Majesty of Rock from the second actual Tap album Break Like The Wind. I say actual because for added confusion there are three real Spinal Tap records (This Is Spinal Tap 1984, Break Like The Wind 1992 and Back From The Dead 2009), but there are over a dozen fictional releases with titles like Shark Sandwhich and the brilliant named Intravenus de Milo. Majesty is a prime example of a Metal parody song, which is also a great actual metal song. Tenacious D and Steel Panther do this stuff amazing well also. Full of monster riffs and ludicrous lyrics that seem to be saying something of great importance until you relly hear what they are.
It’s in the mud
And in your blood
And it’s conquest is complete
And all you can do is surrender to
The Majesty of Rock
It would have been easy to just do the songs from, what Rogers refers to as ‘That damnable American documentary’ but The Majesty of Tap delivers songs for the die-hard Tapologist as well. Songs like Warmer Than Hell, Rainy Day Sun and All The Way Home. But really this weirdly demographiced audience (lot of frocked up older people, fans of the movie and YAI faithful) were all about the signature Tap songs. So Rock’n’Roll Nightmare, Sex Farm and the hilarious Big Bottom, were all met with huge response.
My favourites are really my favourites from the movie, the thrilling 60’s Beatles pastiche Gimme Some Money and their hippy opus (Listen to the) Flower People, Big Bottom and the rocktastic Hell Hole.
There is some schtick referencing Tap’s inability to ensure the safety of their drummers and a lovingly recreated Stonehenge stagecraft. With the smoke machines, lights and theatrical seating vs the pure rocking delivery of one of the world’s best rock bands playing music by a legendary pretend band, this was near perfect night for me. The on stage sound was occasionaly too loud, meaning Rogers vocals were getting lost in the mix from time to time, but how do you complain about a loud rock band playing loud music without becoming part of the parody.
Two more shows only. Go get Tapped.
Adelaide Cabaret Review by Ian Bell
Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight
Majesty of Rock
Warmer than Hell
Gimme Some Money
All The Way Home
Rainy Day Sun
Cups and Cakes
(Listen to the) Flower People
Rock and Roll Creation
Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight