The looming dread of an overcast sky presented a little concern despite forecasts, particularly as British India kindly informed the early arrivals at Rochford Winery that rain was usually inevitable at one of their shows in the presence of overcast skies.
But the rain held off for the entire day and night as British India got things underway with Russian Roulette, full of brilliant indie rock vibes and catchy, simple choruses that have you singing along by the second play.
Blinded offered more melodic vibes on top of a grittier bass before more infectious simplicity in Plastic Souvenirs in amongst warmly greeting the new arrivals strolling through the entrance in the distance.
The super catchy Summer Forgive Me made its appearance but not at the expense of acknowledging the band’s first single, Thieves from bygone days, worthy of a toe tap or two and bringing things to a close with lots of cheers and lots of thanks.
So after dealing with the Rolls Royce of deck chairs being moved into my view of the stage, it was time for Something For Kate. For the second time in as many months, that cover of REM’s ‘The One I Love’ opened the band’s set – hoping that it remains a staple for a little while longer.
Humour on stage and subtle humorous cues for the fans amongst us to Déjà vu – a song that we may have felt we’d heard before.
With drumsticks flying everywhere there was some inevitable housekeeping taking place, consisting of throwing stray drumsticks straight back at the drum kit but no love was lost. At least not permanently, otherwise things wouldn’t have lasted for the 20 years that the band has been together.
And honouring the two-decade career span, Captain (Million Miles An Hour) ensured coverage of the oldies while wrapping up with Miracle Cure showed a vibrancy that would never have been anticipated from Something for Kate a few years ago.
You Am I has never been about hearing pitch perfect vocals, the delivery is all about pure passion and exuberance. As preached later in the set, ‘Singing out of tune doesn’t matter man, as long as you’ve got a story to tell.’
And that wasn’t the only pearl of wisdom shared by Tim Rogers. After the rocking drums in Junk, the groove of Minor Byrd and a little dance in It Ain’t Funny How We Don’t Talk Anymore, the kids were instructed: ‘Form a band; it’ll wreck your life. You’ll have a really good time getting there kids”.
It was finally time for the polished, sharp sounds of Hunters & Collectors coming with the territory of a stellar seasoned group of musicians. Talking To a Stranger came through with a punch, but the chorale of vocals and harmonies from the stage in Turn A Blind Eye exceeded expectations of brilliance.
Mark Seymour summed it up pretty well in saying, ‘Everyone’s enjoying the songs, enjoying emotion and passion.’
The set was more than a best of collection of popular hits, with treats for new and old fans alike. Those that were there back in the day as well as celebrating the ongoing legacy of classics.
The anthem of Holy Grail and When the River Runs Dry powered through, all while the band demonstrated their multi instrumental capabilities. The people travelled for moments like these, and they contributed as passionately and vehemently as the band.
These songs were examples of inspiration drawn from every walk of life, the places around Melbourne and beyond, the literature inspired What’s A Few Men? and Back In The Hole. There were songs for truck driving with 42 Wheels and celebrating the old rite of passage travelling the Hume Highway with Little Chalkie.
Then that very old song that never misses a beat. Sure the lyrics had been shifted around given recent events, but it makes Throw Your Arms Around Me an even more poignant moment of the evening in tribute to abusive attacks, the perils of Manis Island and our souls.
Talk about going back in time though, revisiting the band’s first album from 1981 for Skin of Our Teeth.
Everything’s On Fire is without doubt a new fave live, recorded doesn’t do the quintessential H&C sound inherent in this one justice compared to the stage. This was definitely H&C’s night, but in celebration of everyone who’d performed throughout the day it was only fitting that Paul Dempsey and Declan Melia from British India joined Mark Seymour on vocal duties for the final song.
Music aside, there was a punter of the night award deserved to the guy behind –at the end of the night, shouts of “Hollllyyy Graaaaaiiillll” were yelled repeatedly and while I snickered away, someone pointed out that it was played earlier, leaving the poor guy in a state of shock and disbelief.