Not knowing a lot about The Panics or their music, it was a tad exciting to check them out supporting Hunters & Collectors. After contributing an outstanding cover of Alligator Engine to the Crucible collection of tribute covers (which inevitably made its way into the set), it was a perfect tie in to the night’s homage to so many iconic songs that have infiltrated the lives of many.
Opening with Creatures, The Panics offered laid back rock sounds behind distinctive vocals. Rhythms and beats were sublime, creating really cool texture behind intelligent and considered lyrics.
If anything, a hybrid of The Whitlams and REM with something else thrown into the mix probably describes the vibe from these WA natives, most poignantly in One Way Street but varying in the more subdued Endless Road compared to a little more momentum in Majesty.
There was no denying a little déjà vu, not for the venue but the band. This was the third time seeing Hunters & Collectors in as many months – taking full advantage of this tour as a last hurrah. Vintage t-shirts dragged out of closets, couples and friends ready to relive misspent youths, and the younger members of the fold – we were all ready.
Not relying on cheers this time to see the band arriving on stage, being only a few rows from the front meant knowing exactly what was going on. Not bad for a second last show of this little reunion tour, selling out for two nights. The tunes barely stopped, cramming in as much as possible into the two hours on stage.
A predictable start with Talking to a Stranger, sounding as perfect as always. But the official ‘Welcome to the republic of Hunters & Collectors’ came to the echoes of Blind Eye, passion and emotion throughout with the lone vocals of Mark Seymour only enhanced by the band during those epic choruses.
So the poignant memories and celebration continued, and in honour of a hilarious (including tales of unofficial knighthood ceremonies), powerful and emotional tour we were promised a long show. Sure, the host of fans were working within the confines and restraints of the venue (standing and dancing at seats only) but that wasn’t going to stop anyone having a good time.
With eight members you’d expect to be hard pressed to see anyone standing out but on Stuck on You, Jack Howard on trumpet definitely took that spotlight.
The turning point came around Crime of Passion and the vibe in the theatre evolved to something just a little more celebratory.
Holy Grail managed to get a few more people on their feet, and remaining there for Everything’s on Fire despite the challenges in getting the song onto Countdown back in the day. Ever complimentary, we were told we were a magnificent audience after continuing the hit machine with When The River Runs Dry, and a bit of extra zeal behind the shouts of ‘Do you remember’ in Do You See What I See?
This was a night of gratitude – the crowd was complimented, but there were thank you’s strewn throughout the night and the simple acknowledgement of having to play a particular song only went further to show that this was a celebration of the music. So Throw Your Arms Around Me, with its changed lyrics and dedications enveloped everyone in the room into a chorale of voices, pretty special when this sort of thing happens in an old theatre like The Palais.
But the sombre was refuted with The Slab and a few vintage dance moves being dragged out of the closet, and a cover of The Saints’ ‘Know Your Product’ being the last song of the evening will remain a pretty special one – the last heard live from the mighty hunnas. Proudly now owning a less vintage replica logo t-shirt in memoriam.