Live Review: Tumbleweed, Sun God Replica - The Tote

29 May 2012 | 5:53 pm | Samson McDougall

Not only do they deliver a dose of hearty ‘90s nostalgia, but they also hammer it home with super-tight playing and enough stage presence to rival a younger incarnation of themselves.

More Tumbleweed More Tumbleweed

Ever since their Saturday arvo residency at the same venue last year, Sun God Replica's legend has swollen to the point that they draw a half-full Tote audience as first support on a dreary Friday. These three ooze personality, though probably not the kind of personality you want to take home to your mother. Drummer Lochie Cavigan's beats and fills drive this bus – all flailing limbs and beard sweat. Most importantly, their songs leave lasting recognition. Tim Pickering's bassline coupled with Link “Meanie” McLennan's slackly sung chorus through I'm In Love With The World lingers for days like a mosquito bite – dogging you at first but oh-so sweet to scratch. Album title track Primitive Clockwork is the other clear standout as Sun God Replica lay down the mantle for a “rock'n'roll war” and a night of heavy perspiration and BO hugs.

It was easy to feel cynical about Tumbleweed's belated reformation a couple of years back. A fairly ordinary Meredith appearance and some kind of booze-related promotional tour later and there wasn't much evidence to suggest these dudes were even trying to convince us they were legit. This time 'round though they're hot. Not only do they deliver a dose of hearty '90s nostalgia, but they also hammer it home with super-tight playing and enough stage presence to rival a younger incarnation of themselves.

The hits shine here. Sundial invokes a full-crowd sing-along and rickety head-bobs from their ageing patronage. Carousel lifts the set even further with snake hips comin' out all over the shop as backs crack and knees buckle. Lenny Curley's guitar hooks register as being crisp and smooth as singer Richie Lewis's vocal lines, and from beginning to end the band carry every tune with a mixture of youthful exuberance and practised dexterity.

Though they do nought to reinvent any rock'n'roll machinations or even delve much beyond the limits of their early-'90s sound, on this night Tumbleweed justify their return to the live circuit as something more than serving to wistfulness for times gone by. More than a history lesson, the overriding message here is that of not letting the bridge wash away through past floods. They hold the Tote in the palms of their hands and prove once again that a good song will transcend age, fashion, industry bullshit and beefs gone by.

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