Live Review: Spencer P Jones Fundraiser — The Axeman's Benefit

22 March 2016 | 4:10 pm | Linda Dunjey

"Hopefully the Axeman's Benefit will go some way (as Greg Dear expressed) to 'trying to make Spencer's pathway to the future easier'."

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The word has got around that one of Australia's beloved sons, Spencer P Jones, is battling a serious illness that means he's unable to work for some time to come. The music community Australia-wide is rallying around to help Jones out with the tough journey ahead and today was Western Australia's turn to show the legend some love. The Axeman's Benefit held at Mojo's Bar included a line-up featuring a significant number of artists Jones has worked with over his 40-year career and the money raised will hopefully ease some of the financial burden.

The six-hour show kicked off with The Painkillers — a quality rock outfit with great songs (Garage Sale Girl a particular highlight) and a truly professional approach to delivering them.

Next up, Potato Stars kicked off their loud and proud punk-rock set with Maylands To Graylands. The catchy songs, delivered with total conviction and a super-tight rhythm section, had heads bobbing from the beginning to the end.

Beautiful Losers followed with a set of well-practiced songs — some older (Deadly Game) and some from their recent EP (Clown, Don't Try This At Home, Is She Here and No Money No Brain). A well-crafted soundscape of rock, punk and pop, with attitude and volume that had toes and fingers tapping and the first signs of the crowd dancing on the spot.

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Midfield Legends, featuring The Triffids' Jill Birt and Alsy Macdonald Kevin Smith, Steve Gibson (Wasted Sons), Adrian Hoffmann (Marley Wynn), and beautiful Losers' Shaun Hoffmann and Greg Dear took to the floor with a set of impeccably chosen covers. The super-group's take on Badfinger's Day After Day was a standout, followed by a very accessible version of The Stones' Wild Horses. This and their version of the Danny Whitten-penned I Don't Want to Talk About It were both somewhat rockier than the originals but Greg Dear totally nailed the lilting, country-style guitar motifs that made them such melancholic classics.  

Maurice Flavel's Intensive Care immediately won the audience's hearts with their sweet and subtle vocal harmonies, and then bludgeoned them into submission with a swaggering blues approach and extended jams. Fantastic vocal performances with the memorable Kiss It Better.

Hoodoo Gurus were perhaps the most-looked-forward-to set of the benefit with Dave Faulkner, Rodney Radalj and James Baker. Both Radalj and Baker courageously carried on, ably assisted by the very energetic and charismatic Vince Buchanan-Simpson (Hideous Sun Demon) with a very Le Hoodoo-worthy cover of Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love. Radalj, (injured after a fall into a fish pond last night) tripped off stage on his crutches in characteristic elegant style with the remaining three finishing off the set with classic renditions of old favourites including Television Addict.

Sadly after Hoodoo Gurus finished their set, a sizeable portion of the crowd left but the atmosphere of support and love continued, encouraged by the Soulfisters taking to the stage. Harking back to the righteous and spiritual roots of the Kill Devil Hills, this trio rocked out a deeply soulful set of country-styled laments with impeccable harmonies and some blistering drum solos. 

Finally KISStake, erupted onto the stage. Fresh from recent popular showings around town, this act went the extra mile with authentic costuming and make-up, delivering renditions with such aplomb — despite the lack of pyrotechnics and stadium sound — that the audience were reminded of how catchy some of those KISS recordings were. They ended the night with the rock anthem Rock And Roll All Nite with the crowd finally taking to the dancefloor, stomping and singing along before, in time honoured rock god fashion, The Star Child (aka Bob Gordon) trashed his guitar and the party was over.

Hopefully the Axeman's Benefit will go some way (as Greg Dear expressed) to "trying to make Spencer's pathway to the future easier".