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FIST FULL OF ROCK – Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, Jebidiah, Adalita at Forum Theatre, Melbourne on 26/08/2017

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On my way to Fist Full Of Rock last night, a friend messaged me and said, “I guess you’ll mainly be covering Jebediah because Hoodoo Gurus aren’t really heavy enough for you guys, right?”  Well, it turned out he was certainly wrong – the legendary Hoodoo Gurus showed that they could certainly match the heaviness of Adalita, Jebediah and You Am I very, very easily.

The 30-45 sets did at times leave me wanting more but none of the artists on the night disappointed at all. Adalita eased us all into the night as the venue slowly filled; she got off to a sultry start before hitting the crowd with pure rock aggression with “Annihilate Baby”. The set was brought alive with some great guitar playing, especially during “Private Feeling” and then the grunt of “Blue Sky” and a rendition of Magic Dirt’s “Sky”.

Jebediah then hit the stage brash and full of energy, and with tracks like “She’s Like A Comet”, they soon had the audience in the palm of their hand. “Please Leave” saw a smoother side to the band that has now been doing this for over 20 years while “Animal” was once again brash and up beat. However, this time the audience really got involved. The highlight of the set though was a high-energy version of “Harpoon”, which had everybody singing-a-long and now the night really started to feel like a celebration of Australian rock. With tracks like “Fall Down” delivered as the set came to close, I started to realise that I could sit back and enjoy a full ninety-minute Jebediah set easily.

You Am I hit the stage to the strains of “Cigarettes & Alcohol” by Oasis, and from there, a very British feel flowed through the band’s mannerisms through “Junk” and “Minor Byrd”. The rock grunt then came through on “Minor Byrd” and continued with “Get Up”, by the time they reached “Good Mornin’” the crowd was in full tune and worshipping at feet of the rock god that is Tim Rogers. You Am I mixed it up right through their set – a short and sweet version of “Soldiers” before an amazing version of “How Much Is Enough”. “Jewels & Bullets” and “Cathy’s Clown” was true rock bliss while a cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” was a shock for all. And of course no You Am I set would be complete without a great version of the perennial favourite, “Berlin Chair”.

Then came Hoodoo Gurus coming onto the stage like cowboy’s with a mission, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. They started with “(Let’s All) Turn On” which was a lot heavier than I thought it would be live and that was quickly followed up with “The Right Time”, a track that I thought would surely be an encore track. “Death Defying” then got played a lot earlier than it normally does in a Hoodoo Gurus set as well while “Be My Guru” had an almost punk vibe… as did the closing song of the encore, “Where Nowhere Is”.

For the most part, though, the Hoodoo Gurus was simply full of energy. “Tojo” had everybody dancing along while the harmonica part of “Poison Pen” was a nice change. “Axegrinder”, “Crackin’ Up” and “Big Deal” was all a lot heavier than I expected. Of course, the band didn’t disappoint their frenzied fans. There was a slower rendition of “Castles In The Air” and a very beautiful version of “1000 Miles Away”, while it was “Come Anytime” that had the crowd singing along. As the band performed more hits like “Bittersweet”, “Like Wow – Wipeout”, “Miss Freelove” and “What’s My Scene”, it was a great moment to reflect on just how many hits this legendary band have delivered over the years.

As a whole, Fist Full Of Rock did have me wanting more of Jebediah; You Am I, and Adalita. It also left me with a brand new respect for Hoodoo Gurus. This was an amazing gig for him, and I will never listen to their music in the same way again… an amazing night.

Photography by Matt Holiday

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