One of Melbourne's best acts, James McCann and The New Vindictives, will play their first show in Sydney, as support to the New Christs, at Marrickville Bowling Club on July 15. Tickets for the gig are here.
They'll bring with them the CD version of their their new album "Gotta Lotta Move - Boom!" (Beast Records for vinyl, Off The Hip for CD). This is "Sheena Says", the second video single from it.
James McCann leads his New Vindictives through a set in Sydney.
Before he was hanging out with The Drones in Perth, or touring through Europe with his own bands, James McCann cut his teeth playing in a local band in regional Western Australia. It was a baptism of fire, an experience that instilled in McCann a resilience that’s benefited him ever since.
“There’d be bikers, surfers, shearers, hippies, all mixing into one crowd, and fuckin’ getting’ shitfaced,” McCann says. “It could go real good, or it could go south really quickly. Heavy stuff would be happening, and you’d be up there watching. You had to hold your own.
"So by the time we got to Perth, playing was a walk in the park! The whole of my music career since then has been easy, crowd-wise.”
McCann grew up in the Western Australian town of Albany, 400 kilometres south-east of Perth. McCann’s father had moved from Scotland to Australia in the 1950s. After marrying a local woman in Sydney, where McCann’s elder sister was born, the McCanns moved back to Scotland, where James and his younger sister were born.
Sometimes you get all philosophical. The penny dropped on Saturday night, after a succession of $14 jugs of beer with a mate, that the New Christs are probably the band that I’ve experienced live for the longest number of years.
Of course there have been so many line-ups that a statement like that becomes very elastic. But the wrist stamps don’t lie...
And they go right back to 1984 when a loose and limber Rob Younger bounded onto the stage of Sydney’s Capital Theatre, fronting the band’s first live incarnation, in support of Iggy Pop.
That line-up of Chris Masuak, Tony Robertson, Mark Kingsmill and Kent Steedman (the Rifle later to be subbed by a Spider, Richard Jakimyszyn) might have been equalled by the “Distemper” one (Charlie Owen, Jim Dickson and Louis Burdett/Nick Fisher) but never bettered. The former had a brutal edge, the latter a bluesier, expansive feel with jazzy inflections.
The current configuration of Dickson, Paul Larsen, Dave Kettley and Brent Williams measures up nicely in the history of the New Christs, probably sitting at level-pegging with the late-‘90s line-ups. They’ve all served up differing sounds and brought something different to the stage, with the one constant being Younger’s undeniable presence and bitter-sour song-writing.
“Emotional Jihad” and “Word Salad” are terms that others have used down the years to describe Younger’s lyrical vision. You can’t do much better than that.
Tamara, Richard and Stacey on-stage at the Tote. Matthias Baratheon O'Meara photo
It has now been six years since was lining up at the Excelsior Hotel in Sydney when Jim Dickson (New Christs and Radio Birdman bass-player) told me about this band from Brisbane that I had to check out. Knowing Jim for three decades from his time selling Indian food down at Max’s in the late ’80s, I had never heard him express how blown away he was by a local band.
It’s 25 HITS gigs later for me. I’ve been seeing them from a time when only about five of us living outside their home of BrisVegas were convinced that they could be the greatest exponents of dirty, street-level rock ’n’ roll in this country.
Nowadays, HITS are the band on everyone’s lips. That’s why I am flying down from Sydney to to see my favourite Aussie band to play The Tote in Melbourne, not long before they’re due to embark on their second tour of Europe.
Melbourne's James McCann is one of Australia's iunderrated rock and roll talents. This is "I Can Control Your Mind" from the forthcoming album "Gotta Lotta Move-Boom" (Beast Records vinyl/Off The Hip CD) co written with Penny Ikinger. and was shot on location at Nighthawks in Coliingwood, Melbourne. Say James: "Penny plays the Pennycaster and sings on it too. Working with Penny is an honour and a joy. She is the real deal."