Last night I faced visions of my future, envisaging myself turning into one of the many more ‘mature’ members of the mid-week audience entering The Forum ready to revisit a favourite album or two from You Am I. I was barely a teenager when Hi Fi Way and Hourly Daily were released and certainly not the band’s biggest fan, but I wasn’t going to pass up on hearing tunes from these albums live.
Despite Tim Rogers adamantly stating that this wasn’t about nostalgia, there was no escaping the memories and reminders of years gone by at some level. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the 90’s and the good old day of Recovery. More importantly, I’d forgotten how good a band You Am I were…and still are!
The night kicked off with Hourly Daily, the more subdue of the two albums, and I was thrilled to see that the band had been expanded with some guest musicians particularly the cellist accompanying the opening title track. The rest of the band then joined for ‘Good Mornin’, complete with the alarm clock sounds. It was like listening to the albums at full volume at home, but better….so much better, even though the crowd remained a little lacklustre for the entire set. The only exception was a little head bopping, most prominently for ‘Mr Milk’ and ‘Soldiers’ (or was that just me?) A slightly concerning sight, given that there was still so much to come for the evening and more disappointing was the chatter around my area during ‘Please Don’t Ask Me to Smile’…what was going on?!
After a short interval, the band returned exchanging suits for more casual attire and an obvious change of pace for Hi Fi Way. Judging by the crowd’s response, this was the album that most were waiting to hear live. The turning point came around the time of ‘She Digs Her’ and ‘Cathy’s Clown’, the crowd had let loose and there were even glimpses of some air guitar and air drums accompanied by louder cheers. The entire vibe changed, everyone was just a little more relaxed and loose, raring for a good time. I doubt that many people in that crowd were able to keep still by the time we heard ‘Punkarella’, even the most rhythmically challenged folk.
So the verdict? After hearing two albums and an encore , the comment I overheard someone share on the way out of the venue sums it up nicely, “It was grouse.”
If you haven’t listened to the albums for a while, it’s time to dust them off…and if you don’t have them, best you do something about that! The crowd has aged, the band has aged, but there’s still something really classic about the You Am I sound. There’s that unmistakably Australian vocal tone, and those larrikin antics that make You Am I an absolute joy to see live. If anything, it’s made the association and influence of You Am I on other bands and artists so evident,whether directly or indirectly influencing the sounds we’re still hearing today.
I still can’t get the riff from Mr Milk out of my head, despite all my best attempts. Best I go and listen to it again. Even better, let’s drag out some good ol’ Recovery footage (memories, not nostalgia!) …woo wooh!
- First Three You Am I Albums Return To ARIA Album Chart (noise11.com)
- Interview: Andy Kent & Rusty Hopkinson of You Am I (natsalvo.wordpress.com)