Live Review: Hoodoo Gurus, The Dandy Warhols, The Buoys

19 September 2022 | 2:55 pm | Mick Radojkovic

“We made it!”

(Pic by Christopher Ferguson)

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The on-again, off-again nature of the last few years has seen many gigs delayed, or worse, postponed. When it comes to bringing international bands to Australia, this has especially been the case, but the 40th-anniversary tour (now 41st anniversary) of the beloved Hoodoo Gurus finally went ahead with a special international guest and a fantastic up-and-coming local act. And wow, did it feel good.

The Buoys are a band that, despite the last three years, have been on a staggeringly steep climb with their music and well-renowned live show. The local Sydney four-piece arrived on stage to the strains of Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town and dove headlong into their set with Inside Outside.

Their music felt fresh and the group rocked hard, suiting the big room of the Hordern Pavilion, despite being squished onto the front of the stage. The fans of the bigger acts, that had arrived early, were treated to discovering a new act they may not have known and will hopefully go back home to Google. Fans of the main act, who were positioned in front of where Brad Shepherd would later be, were treated to the exemplary talents of Hilary Geddes, who elicited more than a few ‘wow’ moments with her killer solos and rock guitar moves.

New single, Red Flags, is fast becoming a highlight of their set as they rolled with tracks, old and new from their catalogue of singles and EPs. Fan-favourite, Lie To Me Again, felt particularly solid as the band soaked up their maiden Hordern appearance. “This is the first place I ever saw a gig,” exclaimed lead singer Zoe Catterall.

Catterall, having only just been through major abdominal surgery, was a super trooper even to be performing at all, but was restricted to a chair to avoid any ‘heavy lifting’ and was learning to “head bang without moving her torso”. “It’s bloody comfy,” she also remarked, with a grin.

Australia has had a love affair with The Dandy Warhols for some time, and that showed with the large audience in attendance and the fact that we rank as their third most attended country after the US and UK dating back to the mid-'90s.

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“It’s been a minute – or maybe a million minutes”, declared keys/percussion/bass player, Zia McCabe. And that was almost the entirety of the dialogue that we heard from the band as they focused on delivering a tight, but eclectic ten-track set.

Starting with a few more upbeat cuts, including Godless, STYGGO and We Used To Be Friends, they dove into the droney, psych haze of I Love You and The Creep Out – the latter which included an extended display of the eclecticism from guitarist, Peter Holmström as the band (and crowd) rode the wave with them. It’s these disparate sides of the coin that keep ‘The Dandys’ interesting, particularly with very little chat from lead singer, Courtney Taylor-Taylor who seemed to just be soaking it all in with an irreverent grin and nod to the crowd interspersed with his transition between two very different sounding microphones.

Once the vocals returned, the crowd joined in with belting renditions of You Were The Last High and Get Off before returning to the come down of Boys Better and a typically droney ending and fade to black.

The Portlander four-piece have been consistently releasing music for over 25 years and are still delivering a live show worthy of the price of admission, but you get the feeling that a short support set doesn’t tell the full story of what this group are trying to say. Look for them to return next year with the full shebang.

Any band that can still be performing their oldest songs 40 years into their career has proven the longevity and relevance of their work. Thus, when Hoodoo Gurus perform songs like Tojo, Dig It Up and Death Defying from their first two albums – songs that still warm the cockles with the quirk and cheek, but also with their very well constructed classic rock stylings.

This was seemingly going to be a best of show, but it also included five tracks from their brand new album, Chariot Of The Gods, including World Of Pain, which could have easily been written in 1983 with its classic Aussie lyrics and punchy rhythm. Such is the longevity of this band, the new songs nestled in easily with the old.

“We made it!” exclaimed a clearly relieved frontman in Dave Faulkner. The group has always been a vehicle for his exemplary songwriting, but accompanied by the masterful guitar work from Brad Shepherd, the band were able to attract the rock heads, the art-popsters and more.

Despite the decades past, the fitness of the whole band was evident. Brad Shepherd, in between ripping out killer guitar solos, was doing air-splits and solid rock poses during the high-energy performance. You wouldn’t have known that Nik Rieth hadn’t been on drums since the start. He nailed the fills, matching the airdrums of the crowd and was a more than excellent replacement for long-time drummer, Mark Kingsmill. Richard Grossman was a rock on the bass, driving the band expertly, with a swagger and a grin.

‘The Gurus’, who started “just down the road” in Paddington, have long been a staple of Australia’s music scene, but also managed to garner some critical success overseas, especially with their early records. It’s no wonder that the fans of the main support were also fans of the Hoodoo Gurus and the sold-out Hordern were lapping it up.

As the set tipped past the hour mark, some of the classic hits came on display. Bittersweet, Miss Freelove ‘69 and a perfectly beautiful rendition of 1000 Miles Away. Then it was time to party, with the anthemic Be My Guru - a rare treat - being delivered in the first encore along with favourites, What’s My Scene - which had the kids singing along - as well as Like Wow – Wipeout - their traditional closer.

The Buoys and Dandy Warhols returned to the stage for an all-in performance of Leilani and it couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate a coming together of three eras of music and a joyful and brilliant night of live music.

For remaining dates on the tour, click here.