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Live Review: The Medics, Archie Roach

4 June 2013 | 11:39 am | Jazmine O’Sullivan

Both Archie Roach and The Medics have done their communities proud with an amazing display of music tonight, and have probably scored themselves a few new fans in the process.

A diverse crowd has gathered to witness this special night of music, running in conjunction with the new exhibition at GoMA, My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art From Black Australia. Wandering through the gallery pre-show and absorbing all of the stunning pieces of art created by the Indigenous community is a beautiful and enriching way to set the tone for the evening.

When the inspirational legend that is Archie Roach takes the stage, spectators form a tight-knit crowd as close to him as possible, with everyone seeming to understand the significance of seeing him play as a part of this exhibition. Before he starts singing, Roach shares a little insight to the story behind each song, making the audience feel like a part of proceedings. Even though it's a cool night outside, no one in GoMA would know it, as Roach's bold-yet-soothing vocals instantly warm the room; it feels like there's warmth emanating from the walls as he sings! It's quite a moving sight to witness hundreds of people staring silently and admirably at Roach as he performs; he absolutely captivates this crowd, and you can feel the respect they hold for him. We're treated to a plethora of his hits, including We Won't Cry and Native Born, with each song earning the singer a raucous response.

There are significantly fewer people in the crowd when it's time for The Medics to perform. The magnitude of the event is not lost on the group, who admit that they're honoured to be a part of it; frontman Kahl Wallace is even dressed for the occasion, donning a black singlet adorned with the Aboriginal flag. They knock out tracks from their debut album Foundations, including Griffin, Slowburn and Golden Bear, as well as a new song Bruises, which earns a positive response. Halfway through the set, drummer Jhindu Lawrie invites his father and the band's mentor, Bunna Lawrie (from the iconic Coloured Stone), to join them for the rest of the set; it's so endearing to see his face light up as he watches his father perform. The night closes with their single Joseph, and it's almost like the guys have been saving all their energy for this moment – Charles Thomas is throwing his bass into the air and then whipping it back into his hands with the strap to quickly resume playing, while Jhindu Lawrie practically leaps off his drum kit and screams his guts out, not into the microphone, but directly at the crowd for the repeating refrain “You built walls to cover your pride, doing so with such a confronting force, that spectators toward the front are seen to take a step back – it's quite amazing to behold.

Both Archie Roach and The Medics have done their communities proud with an amazing display of music tonight, and have probably scored themselves a few new fans in the process.   

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