marrickville bowling club - The I-94 Bar
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.
If you remember the halcyon days of Sydney’s exploding live music scene in the 1980s, you need to make a beeline for Marrickville Bowling Club in the city's inner-west on Saturday night.
The Conspirators were in the thick of it back then, an archetypal garage band formed by five then young Sydney music fans who were sick of paying to get into gigs.
They became something of a fixture, growing a following and issuing a single and an EP before going on to other bands including The Sweet Ride, Psychotic Turnbuckles and Sheek the Shayk.
With their last show 30 years ago, The Conspirators are reforming for one gig only. They’ll be joined by The Stukas - punk rock veterans - and rejuvenated mods, The Smart Folk. Special guest DJ will be Steven Danno, spinning his collection of prime ‘60s punk and ‘80s Detroit rock.
The Conspirators are doing a special re-issue CD of their back catalogue (plus a new song) for sale on the nightm and have had T-shirts printed for this auspicious occasion. Tickets available on the door or cheaper in advance here.
The On and Ons Glenn Morris and Jon Roberts with guest guitarist Murray Cook . Shona Ross photo
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, this was a night of three contrasting but not dissimilar bands when The Smart Folk, Loose Pills and The On and Ons weaved their guitar pop web over Marrickville Bowling Club. It was also the album launch for The On and Ons' wonderful CD "Welcome Aboard".
These sorts of night are infrequent in Sydney these days. Ones where the bands on the bill complement each other and the venue doesn't turn people off, so they turn out in good numbers.
You’re here to read a live music review? Hang in there. There's a bit of preaching to go through, first...