Under The Southern Stars made it’s way to Adelaide for the very first time playing at Hart’s Mill right in the heart of historic Port Adelaide. On paper it’s an awesome line up of the best Australian rock going around including the Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, Eskimo Joe, The Superjesus, British India, The Getaway Plan and Scott Darlow. Being a work day and starting early in the afternoon there was a really strong crowd which continued to build right throughout the afternoon. Punters were lucky the weather was much cooler compared to the previously couple of days, even the odd spot of rain.
My afternoon started with British India who nowadays are a really tight unit and they have some pretty decent tunes in their armoury. It is great to see them up on the big stage where we have become quite accustomed to seeing them play at The Gov on the majority of their tours here. Set staple Black & White Radio was awesome as well as the newer hits Midnight Homie (My Best Friends) and Suddenly.
The Superjesus typified the rock spirit of Under The Southern Stars playing like their life depended on it. The crowd responded and so did the band playing all the hits. Sarah McLeod has really stepped it up and their take on a Kylie Minogue classic Confide In Me was a winner. They have plenty of great songs to cram in to a forty five minute festival set including the likes of Down Again, Saturation, Second Sun, Secret Agent Man and set closer Gravity. I think there’s plenty of fans who are looking forward to what’s next for The Superjesus because they are back and back in a big way.
I really dig Eskimo Joe and it was great that they were added to the bill. For a band that have not toured much of late they sounded and looked great playing a slick and polished set. If anything I hope the Eskies have rediscovered that magic that made them so good to begin with playing more shows and even releasing some new music. Opening with Sarah front man Kav Temperley welcomed the crowd saying “we are here for your pleasure and privilege” before ripping through New York. Temperley said that he felt it was an auspicious moment being in the hottest capital city of all time then proceeding to play Older Than You. The crowd was asked to take their minds back to 2006 when they played “The Thebbie” by closing their eyes and thinking they had less grey hairs. Breaking Up and Echo were fabulous as was Foreign Land. The back story behind London Bombs was interesting and Wake Up was dedicated to all the bands starting out. What a way to finish than with Black Fingernails Red Wine, Love Is The Drug and By The Sea. Fingers crossed that the Eskies make it back to Adelaide this year.
The mighty You Am I were next and good times are always to be had when they’re in town. I maybe a little biased but their set was unreal made even more so by the fact that they played as a three piece as bassist Andy Kent had a urgent and pressing family matter to deal with. Davey Lane deserves best on ground after spending most of the previous night learning six hundred bass lines so the band could play in Adelaide. As Tim Rogers said “the power of methamphetamine and tonight we’re playing for papa Andy”. Opening with How Much Is Enough you could said that Tim, Rusty and Davey lifted their game playing their bestest for their papa Andy. Sporting kimonos Tim did apologise for his midlife spread when it came open.
Holy smokes Sound As Ever had the rock turbos on and Rogers asked the crowd to view their chart positions like cricket scores in that they have scored plenty of centuries. What I Don’t Know ‘Bout You and Damage were sensational. Constance George was dedicated to people getting home safe and it’s an issue the band are passionate about. Some smart arse yelled out “Sturt suck” to which Rogers responded “tell your therapist, I’m working”. Minor Byrd sounds as good as always and as a prelude to Junk Rogers spoke about being in a US hotel room in 1997 with Andy and to hear the rest of the story punters would need to go to the Grace Emily Hotel later that night. Purple Sneakers, Cathy’s Clown were fantastic and Heavy Heart was to and according to Rogers was number sixty three in the charts in 1998. It was great to hear Billy with Rogers saying they were 3/212 (cricket score) referring to the chart classic Mr Milk. Rogers thanked the crowd for giving them a chance and that it felt like a limb had fallen off playing without papa Andy. The band went out with a bang in Rumble and Berlin Chair.
Hoodoo Gurus headlined Under The Southern Stars and I would say that this would be right up there in terms of one of the best shows I’ve ever seen them play. Place In The Sun was for the previous day’s record breaking hottest day. The hit machine pumped out Tojo and Right Time then pulling out left fielder Gene Hackman. Referred to its alternate name Safe & Sound it was Waking Up Tired that was next. Dave Faulkner encourage the crowd to sing-a-long to Death Defying which was followed by You’ve Got Another Thing Coming and 1985’s Poison Pen. Already there was plenty to excite the most die hard of Hoodoo Gurus fans. Wow! Castles In The Air was there and Faulkner asked the crowd to join them on a spiritual level on Come Anytime. Arguably Bitter Sweet I think is one of the best rock songs ever written sound better and better each time I hear it. I loved the intensity of Axegrinder and they closed the set on Miss Freelove, 1000 Miles Away (described as their lullaby) and Where Nowhere Is. Returning for an encore doesn’t get any bigger than My Girl, What’s My Scene and Like Wow – Wipeout.
Under The Southern Stars was a great event and no doubt that it will only continue to get bigger and better here in Adelaide in 2020. Fingers crossed this festival becomes a permanent fixture on the rock music calendar.
Live Review By Rob Lyon