Reviewed on Friday August 2

It’s hard not to notice the muted excitement in the room as Tim Rogers, Andy Kent, Rusty Hopkinson and Davey ‘The Kid’ Lane beam sly grins from the stage. A few excited punters down the front bounce back and forth and fist pump at each jut and snarl Rogers delivers. (Ample amounts of the tour’s signature beer Brew Am I may have had something to do with all the matted hair flying around early on.) As the band rips into ‘Dead Letter Chorus’ from 1996’s Hourly, Daily, heads begin to bob, giving a clear sense Australia’s favourite likely lads know they’ve still got what it takes after nearly 24 years as a band.

 

Over two sets – showcasing Hourly, Daily and its 1995 predecessor Hi Fi Way – the band pulls out required favourites like the former’s titular track and ‘Cathy’s Clown’ from the latter, as well as some surprises like ‘Trike’ from the international version of Hourly, Daily. It all feels familiar, scrappy and wonderful especially when Rogers fucks up his windmilling guitar with great gusto on ‘Minor Byrd’.

 

There are liberal dashes of Roger’s infamous cheek in both the ridiculous purple velour trousers he wears in the second set and the way he chides certain members of the crowd. The main man suffers no fools – and wins even more hearts – when he asks a guy in the front row filming the concert: “I’m really glad you came tonight, but can’t you just be here in this moment, with all of us together?”

 

During encore tune ‘Adam’s Ribs’, the band express their gratitude for more than two decades of sweaty and full venue floors. “This band only exists because of people taking chances,” Rogers says, “and Newcastle has always been the best at that.” And then, naturally, they play ‘Berlin Chair’ to an audience no longer bothered with hiding their smiles.

 

BY BENJAMIN COOPER

 

 

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