In what was another brilliant day at Adelaide’s fuel injected weekend the Clipsal 500, the evening concert didn’t disappoint as two music giants laid on the nostalgia for the more discerning Saturday crowd. Headliners Hunters and Collectors along with the Baby Animals were always going to be a hit, and didn’t disappoint as they gave memorable performances full of hits and memories.
Adelaide supports acts The Byzantines and Battlehounds were ‘effing brilliant’ as one punter described it, with both belting out hard sets that kept the blood pumping better than a few cans of Red Bull (Couldn’t have agreed more). The Byzantines are part Blur, part Arctic Monkeys (my opinion only), and I suspect we will be seeing more of them in future as their new EP You Pull It is being well received.
Battlehounds are an Adelaide 3-piece and I can only describe their sound as heavy, hard, and ‘hell yeah!’ They caught my attention on JJJ Unearthed earlier this year and to see them live- wow! They’ve instantly become my favourite band, and they’re local!
Kicking off with their first album hit One Word, the Baby Animals under the lead of rock babe Suze DeMarchi, went hell for leather delivering a string of familiar rock anthems with surgical precision. It was a 90’s flashback of sorts, with each song evoking memories of when the band first launched onto the hard rock scene some 20-odd years ago. The band consisting of DeMarchi, Dave Leslie, Dario Bortolin, and Mick Skelton were tight and didn’t hold back, particularly in their heavier numbers like Ain’t Gonna Get & Rush You. It was classic pub rock, a real hard sound with that ‘no bullshit’ edge. DeMarchi’s vocal range is still on form with her definitive ‘rock twang’ and the band didn’t miss a beat. They still sound incredible live, and might I add that Suze DeMarchi post 50 is still divinely gorgeous. Finishing with Early Warning, BA wrapped up having left an extremely happy crowd ready for the next instalment of Australian music at its best. The show though, was definitely not over.
Entering to a rousing applause, the icons that are Hunters and Collectors were never going to disappoint, and judging by the comments being exchanged between random strangers in the crowd, the influence that HC have had on people is tremendous. Opening with Talking to a Stranger, Mark Seymour and ‘the Hunners’ (as they were lovingly referred to in Australian slang) were fantastic to see again. Having officially disbanded in 1998, several reformations have given some hope that the guys aren’t really over but are taking some well-deserved breaks to focus on that thing called life.
The crowd couldn’t help but join in on Blind Eye, and almost every other song to be honest.
Their music is lyrically rich, harmoniously good, and consists of so many layers that they can’t truly be defined in one genre alone. Their is something majestic about their horn section that always gave them an air of authority and intellect.
Hunters and Collectors always had a more sophisticated air about them and the 80s/90s were all the better for having them around. College boy haircuts, Country Road clothes, and a Hunters and Collectors cassette on repeat in the car were the norm for many of us who are of the decidedly ‘X’ Generation. You couldn’t go past a Jukebox or pub that didn’t have a HC song blaring. That the timeless ‘Holy Grail’ became an anthem for chasing victory is no surprise, and it is but one of their massive repertoire of hits. Mark Seymour and the band are great storytellers, with each song having a different character or meaning. They don’t have an overt political agenda, and their music has a distinct ‘Aussie-ness’ about it that is hard to define yet is laid bare in their songs.
In a 2-hour set, Hunters and Collectors pumped out mostly their hits with a few rarities thrown in for good measure during their encore such as The Slab.
Interestingly, Seymour encouraged the crowd to join in singing Throw your Arms Around Me, quoting his grandmother’s claim that ‘Australians are too embarrassed to sing in public’. Ironically, most of the people in my vicinity (including myself) knew most of the songs word for word, and had no issue with reciting them, albeit nowhere near as loud or as good as Mark Seymour.
Nonetheless the crowd obliged Seymour, helping to end the night in the spirit of something sadly lacking in Aussie culture these days- unity!
And thus concluded the Concerts at this year’s Clipsal 500. Until next year………
Pics: Phil Williams