Live Review: Motor Ace

1 April 2019 | 12:27 pm | Stephen Munchenberg

"So good to hear these songs again, especially given they sounded better live than the original recordings."

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It has been 20 years since rockers Motor Ace burst onto the Australian music scene with their self-titled debut EP. After two hit albums in 2001 and 2002, the band seemed to suddenly fade from the charts (but not from our hearts) and by 2005 they were done. The announcement in August last year that a 20-year reunion tour was going to happen clearly ignited memories for many fans, who voted in favour of the idea with their wallets, for this near-capacity show at The Gov.

Tonight was the opening night of the band’s five-show reunion tour. Given the long absence it could have been a bumpy ride, but thankfully that was not the case. Opening with Keeping Secrets from Shoot This, followed by the title track from Five Star Laundry, the devoted sang the "yeah, yeah, yeah" parts just as they had in the band’s heyday. It was clear that the four-piece had lost none of their spark, despite their almost 15-year hiatus.

Singer Patrick Robertson thanked Adelaide for being an early supporter of the band. Memories of sweaty Thursday night gigs at the Holdfast Hotel in Glenelg came flooding back. The singer even name-dropped that particular pub at one point, asking if the venue was still around. With much of the audience older than the band (the singer’s babysitter reference striking a chord), the general mood was a little subdued at first. However, heads were still nodding along to most of the album and EP tracks that featured early in the set. It was also pleasing to see the beaming smiles on the faces of those in the first few rows, who looked like they were in a state of pure bliss.

It wasn’t until they brought out early songs Criminal Past and American Shoes that the entire crowd lit up. So good to hear these songs again, especially given they sounded better live than the original recordings. After an hour-long set that ended on a high with Pieces and Siamese, the band took a five-minute refreshment break, before returning for a half-hour encore. This included their big guns, Chairman Of The Board (surely one of the best Australian rock songs ever!), Death Defy, Hey Driver and Carry On. Before we knew it, the show was over (“We have no more songs”) and the band retired from the stage. When the house lights didn’t come back on, we thought we were in for a second encore but sadly it wasn’t to be.

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