Live Review: You Am I, Velociraptor & The Otchkies

8 January 2013 | 10:22 am | Spencer White

It’s not just bark; there’s a lot of bite left in this old Aussie dog yet.

More You Am I More You Am I

For most here tonight this will be their last live music fix of 2012 – a fine year for tours and gigs – and it starts auspiciously with a nice set from Murwillumbah outfit The Otchkies, who ply a distinctly '60s sound with a retro look to match the aesthetic, and some nice songs and arrangements to boot.

Next up are local garage wunderkinds Velociraptor, who despite an indifferent mix and the vaguely un-rock'n'roll surroundings of the cavernous Concert Hall bring some verve to proceedings, tunes like Hey Suzanne and Riot as always getting feet moving and faces smiling. They're in diminished nine-piece mode tonight but that still leaves plenty of room for instrument-swapping and hijinx, livewire frontman Jeremy Neale relinquishing the spotlight at times without the energy levels sapping in the slightest, tracks such as the groovy Mystery Man and the hook-laden Sleep With The Fishes going down a treat with the growing crowd. They finish with the catchy Cynthia and old(er) track In The Springtime, leaving no stone unturned in their ongoing quest for good times.

It's quite packed by the time the evergreen You Am I take the stage and open with The Good Ones from their most recent long-player (2010's self-titled effort) and then turn back the clock for Jaimme's Got A Gal from 1993 debut Sound As Ever, neatly encapsulating in two songs that tonight is going to cover the whole gamut of their epic career. The five-piece (Stevie Kesketh on keys complementing the key four members) seem to be in a great mood, white-clad and bow-tie sporting frontman Tim Rogers in particular seeming to enjoy the festivities. The first half hour or so is tight but the setlist veers to the recent and less well-known ('Round Ten, Pinpricks, A Nervous Kid, The Ocean, Givin' Up And Gettin' Fat) yet no one's complaining with this great band at the top of their game, then suddenly a cavalcade of hits rains down and the place goes bonkers: How Much Is Enough leads into Cathy's Clown, and suddenly Rogers is windmilling through Mr Milk and the roof nearly collapses. Good Morning segues into Minor Byrd – during which Rogers challenges a punter to a 'dance off' and leaps into the fray – before he evokes The Saints by yelling, “Brisbane, Security City!” and launching into a ripping cover of (I'm) Stranded, a fitting finale to a fine set. Of course there's more in the tank, and after Rogers delivers a poignant solo reading of Heavy Heart they smash through Trike, Rumble, Junk and a gobsmackingly good Berlin Chair to bring it all to a close. It's not just bark; there's a lot of bite left in this old Aussie dog yet.