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BY THE C @ City Beach Oval gets 7/10


By The C @ City Beach Oval

w/ Icehouse, Pete Murray, You Am I, Tex Perkins, Killing Heidi
Saturday, March 26, 2021

7/10

The strong show of hands in response to local radio personality and host for the day, Clairsy, and his question about who bought tickets for today’s show when they originally went on sale in October 2019, indicated that Aussie royalty Icehouse’s return to the West was a long time coming.

Through a few date changes, the line up remained intact with the WA leg of the Icehouse By The C tour favouring the likes of Tim and Tex over acts like Motor Ace and Baby Animals, who joined the headliners on dates at beaches on the eastern seaboard.

Killing Heidi

Killing Heidi hit the stage at 2pm to a growing audience of seated punters. Yes, the requirements of large outdoor gatherings under the State of Emergency that WA has been under for more than a year was creatively addressed at By The C with all attendees required to bring a fold-up camping chair and stake their position, which only added to the relaxed vibe for the day under the sun.

Ella Hooper’s energy got toes tapping and heads nodding as she led her band through a short set that covered the earworms of their first album, namely Weir and Mascara, while the warts-and-all vibe remained on some of their early tunes. Surely the pick scratching and double kick aren’t required for hearing Superman/Supergirl in 2021? Okay, so maybe the double kick outro was a guilty pleasure…

During the long break between bands, the DJs’ selections could be gauged by the reactions of a security guard in front of the stage. He uncontrollably tapped along to Toto’s Africa, but halfway through the next song, namely Alex Lloyd’s Amazing, his hand has stopped moving and a glum downtrodden look had settled on his face.

Tex Perkins

When Tex Perkins did hit the stage, his backing band broke into the strains of Pay the Devil His Due, a dark country song that drew the ire of attendees wanting shiny happy hits. Longtime collaborator Matt Walker handled the 12 string acoustic guitar duties while Tex sporadically banged away his black Telecaster, using it more as an accessory than a key contributor to the sound.

A Place in the Sun saw the frontman continually attempting to keep the sun out of his eyes, before he declared with the voice of a southern American preacher that he was only going to be “funky from now on.” Showing off his wit, Tex briefly won over the crowd with his funky jam, before concluding his session with the Cruel Sea classic The Honeymoon is Over.

You Am I

By the time You Am I took the stage, it became obvious why $6 camp chairs were not the best option for your reviewer today. Still the pain in one’s rib cage and lower back must have been pale in comparison to Tim Rogers’ ailments, which he alluded to several times before admitting that the night before took a toll on him and he was suffering in the blinding sun today as a result.

Nevertheless, Rogers brought his a-game with a set made for the festival stage. After introducing a new song from their soon-be-be-released new album, Rogers taunted the crowd, “Usually [a new song’s] the last thing you want to hear – play Heavy Heart,” he teased. “‘Well, get a load of this song – you’ll forget I ever had a heart, if I ever had one!”

While the track itself didn’t live up to those high expectations, it still fit alongside their classics, including Get Up, Cathy’s Clown, Mr Milk and Applecross Wing Commander, with a nod to the suburb a few postcodes away which is almost as affluent as where the frontman attended school. Closing with Berlin Chair, You Am I delivered as they regularly do.

Pete Murray

Speaking of 51-year-old frontmen, a fellow specimen described by Rogers as being of the “bronzed variety” and thus made for the afternoon sun was Pete Murray himself. While the previous bands spoke of catching flights from Melbourne that morning, Murray’s declaration of flying from Brisbane that day drew a few nervous laughs due to Queensland’s COVID cluster making headlines over the weekend.

Churning through his hits, which can be classed as where white-meets-bread and where AOR meets MOR, such as Opportunity and Better Days, the former athlete had plenty queueing at the food vans for respite. His band ably remained faithful to the original records, which is a testament to their restraint.

Icehouse

With the sunset on City Beach, Iva Davies and his rejuvenated Icehouse returned to the stage as one of the busiest touring bands in the world in 2021, having already played three shows thus far. The band got straight to business, kicking off with Icehouse, the song that the band recorded when they were still known as Flowers.

Following up with Electric Blue, the live version somehow exceeded the quality of the record, with the intricate vocal arrangements brought to the fore. Hey Little Girl, Crazy and Street Cafe continued the party before the eagerly anticipated Great Southern Land led to a David Bowie cover, Jean Genie. It was a fitting choice for a band so clearly inspired by the Thin White Duke.

Icehouse

As the crowd filed out to surrounding sand dunes and car parks, folded camping chairs under arms, the sense that maybe things are getting back to normal took hold. The crowd was well-behaved and followed the instructions of the many COVID marshals in high vis vests, while the extra room available in the reduced capacity setting allowed punters to have their own space in which to throw shapes. Here’s hoping these types of shows continue throughout 2021 and the long-suffering music industry can recover.

MORTY HORGAN

Photos by Adrian Thomson

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