RED HOT SUMMER TOUR 2020
(Hunters & Collectors, James Reyne, The Living End, The Angels, Baby Animals, Killing Heidi, Boom Crash Opera)
Photos and Review by Caris Morcombe
The Red Hot Summer Tour could not have been more appropriately named on the arvo of the 12th of January. The usual 15 minute drive to Sandalford Winery from my place hit a stand still as we hit West Swan Road, I highly recommend leaving an hour before you think you need to for a sold out show like this one. As I waited in line for the thorough bag search I could hear Boom Crash Opera begin their set, what I heard sounded good among the grumblings of sweaty punters in line waiting to have their picnic bags rummaged through. I get it though – something this big needs to be well controlled.
Ella Hooper danced her way on stage in a leopard print one piece, waving her mic stand enthusiastically. Her energy never dulled once throughout the set though she did make comment “my lily white Melbourne ass was not ready for this heat”. The rest of the band matched her energy with good crowd interaction. Weir was a stand out for me – it still carried the same beautiful mix of hard-hitting and soulful that I enjoyed as a kid. Glad I finally got to see it live so many years later. “Have you still got some teen angst left in you?” cried Hooper – I certainly did after missing Boom Crash Opera – they dove in to Mascara as the crowds began to mass.
Baby Animals were next on the bill and while the crowd began to sweat, Suze Demarchi oozed nothing but swagger in her Aviators. They began with their 90s hit Rush You and it was nice to be reacquainted with the bands grungy sultry tones. Demarchi slung on her telecaster, guitar pick between her teeth and belted out One Word which had the crowd join in each step of the way. Ain’t Gonna Get showcased some incredible guitar work and I made a mental note to rediscover this band as they rocked hit after hit. I was in admiration of the events support to the bush fire appeal with thousands of dollars already raised in support of the fire fighters. Volunteers with buckets roamed the crowds and the sound of changed clinking was just as good as the music. The Nutbush blasted through the speakers and it was a sight to behold a demographic of mullets sporting straw hats all Nutbushing – mostly in sync after a few bourbons.
The Angels delivered with Screaming Jets front man Dave Gleeson giving his all to live up to Doc Neeson. His face pulling, head banging and suggestive dancing brought laughs and life to songs we’ve all heard so many times before. John and Rick Brewster proved they’ve still got it as they cruised through a myriad of classics. Gleeson revved up the masses for Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again but he really didn’t need to try too hard as the thousands chanted that line we’ve all shouted a few times at some pub somewhere after a few too many. A nod to the fire fighters was given before belting out Face the Day – go and listen to the song again, I guarantee you’ll never hear it the same again given what our country has been through the past few months.
The Living End were the stand out performance for me. It was punk as hell. Second Solution opened the fast paced set and dust began to rise from the pit as the crowd rose to the occasion. “Do we have any children of the 70s and 80s?” Chris Cheney bellowed “of course we fucken do!” (we really fucken did). They then covered Tainted Love which was absolute joy. Plenty of on stage antics ensued with Cheney balancing on Scott Owens big double bass and shredding his guitar with beer in hand. He then lured the crowd into assisting with their contest with The Angels to see if Prisoner of Society could get a bigger chant than Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. I think it did. “I was told by James Reyne that a little healthy competition is good, I was also told not to name drop by Jimmy Barnes” Cheney said cheekily. They concluded with White Noise and I couldn’t resist joining in the midst of the dust bowl, coincidentally (probably not) this was when my camera started giving me lens faults. No regrets.
I had to dial down my energy for James Reyne as the sun began to set. His set had an almost stripped back feel as the dust settled. Gretsch guitar in hand, Reyne played the favourites – Hammerhead, Slave, and Reckless. Arms swayed in the air as Reynes voice echoed through the valley. I was stoked to hear Australian Crawl hit The Boys Light up and if you felt like you’d just recovered after a blistering afternoon of beers and good ol’ fashioned Aussie rock n roll – you found yourself back on your feet. How could you not.
Hunters and Collectors were a perfect choice to end the day. I forgot how much soul is written in their work and as the set played out I realised I knew more songs than I thought I did, so 90s kids – take note. I really appreciated the horn section which added a real depth to the performance – something a little bit extra to conclude the night. Holy Grail, Say Goodbye and Throw Your Arms Around Me were all notable highlights. Another nod to the fire fighters with Inside a Fireball.
Sometimes I feel Australian culture is difficult to define, it’s often pulled the piss out of with a perceived bogan identity and on a deeper level it’s lost on our past injustices. I feel Red Hot Summer Tour brought out the absolute best in the gathering here in Perth. I can safely say bringing people together on home grown music and supporting those that put their lives on the line for us is a staple of Australian culture and I hope Red Hot Summer Tour continue their 10 years of positive contribution into the next decade.