The Sunnyboys’ grand Meredith sideshow sold out almost instantly, and evidently a lot of those here were looking to ride The Sunnyboys express right back to their adolescence.
Before we went back in time though, the present came courtesy of Fearless Vampire Killers. The Melbourne four-piece played a consistently entertaining set of swampy blues rock variants. They’re a competent bunch and tonight the lead vocalist sung with a raspy girth while the lead guitarist ruthlessly pillaged his Les Paul’s innocence and the rhythm section held things firm (albeit without much flair). The twanging Mexico spoke of an interest in cowboy films made with Italian money and the cover of The Beatles/ John Lennon’s Yer Blues was a worthy setlist inclusion (curating an appropriate Beatles cover is a delicate art). As enjoyable as their show was, I can’t see FVK rising above support band status at this stage. It was a little too much like running through the motions of making blues that rocks, rather than actually shaking and rattling.
Next up, Even took us back 10-15 years in origins but the momentum didn’t slow at all. Their ’90s urban-dag homages to ’60s mod-pop sounded as punchy as ever. Borrowing motifs from the likes of The Who and The Faces their set had a steady flavour. Well constituted by Ash Naylor’s guitar playing that filtered into any lurking gaps and Wally Kempton’s Canned Heat groove bass playing, it wasn’t like a sugar rush straight to the head, it was more of a round and reliable rock melon sensation. The new material unfortunately felt a bit stale but the earlier songs were prominently fulfilling.
The room swarmed with avid excitement as The Sunnyboys took the stage. It was a spectacle to behold the lucid trip down memory lane that this show was for so many people. There were consistent exclamations for all areas of the room throughout the show as someone else’s favourite song was played. The dominant look of glee in the crowd suggested an elated belief that a song was being played directly for the individual who it meant so much to. The Sunnyboys didn’t fail to comprehensively remind everyone what had sparked the original attraction. They were spot on with song execution and performance exuberance, playing the majority of their debut album, 1981s Sunnyboys. Even though the material all sits in the same song-bucket, their snappy laconic rock didn’t turn grey as it was poured out. The set’s one minor lull was a song fronted by the bass player but this was amended when the microphone returned to Jeremy Oxley. The band aren’t excellent hosts; Oxley didn’t actually say a thing and the other three members’ attempts at jovial banter were a bit awkward. Nevertheless, their sheer on stage excitement more than compensated for this weakness. In the set’s major highlight, Alone With You, all arms were interlocked and awareness of 21st century complications, such as the mobile internet in your pocket or the ‘craft’ beer in your belly, completely dissolved.
BY AUGUSTUS WELBY
LOVED: The lead guitarist’s perpetual grin.
HATED: Not quite understanding the nostalgia.
DRANK: Beer, beer, beer.