MOTOR ACE @ Capitol gets 8/10

MOTOR ACE @ Capitol

w/ Tanaya Harper, Kat Wilson
Saturday, March 30, 2019


Twenty years since their first ever gig, and 18 years since the release of their first album Five Star Laundry, Motor Ace is making their way around the country on their Five Star Reunion Tour. Saturday night saw them stop into Perth for a fun trip down memory lane.

Opening act Kat Wilson stood solo on stage. A beautiful voice, she was a little lost in such a large room. The age old ‘stand at the back because the room’s half empty’ thing worked against her and although an amazing talent, people were preoccupied during her set. Tanaya Harper followed, joined on stage by another guitarist. More people had arrived but she too was talked over for the majority of her set. Another beautiful voice, she played songs we’ve heard a lot on RTRFM lately, including the popular Graceless and Don’t Go Outside, which she announced would be released on an upcoming EP. While both wonderful acts in their own right, they were strange selections as the support for Motor Ace. Perhaps bands from a similar late 90s, early noughties period would have been better.

Tanaya Harper

The lights dimmed and dramatic entrance music started playing. Before the band had even walked on stage someone in the crowd yelled “this is awesome” which set the atmosphere for the night. An older crowd, super polite, just here to relive their musical memories – the excitement was unmistakable. Out walked Motor Ace, slightly greyer perhaps but instantly recognisable, as they picked up their instruments and kicked their set off with Keeping Secrets from their Shoot This album. Next, Five Star Laundry was met with great delight, as were all the tracks from the album of the same name, like Lorenzo. It was hard to tell whether the goosebumps we all felt were from the nostalgia we were encountering or the incredibly cold air con in the venue!

Motor Ace

Venturing back to where it all started, Motor Ace played Criminal Past, which first appeared on their self-titled EP, followed by Fluke from the same release. This was a moment for the die-hard fans, of which there were plenty. They were all wearing the lanyards and Motor Ace tees from their earlier meet and greet, singing every single word with their hands on their hearts. Then shifting to the other end of their career, the band delved into a selection from their Animal album. Although well received, it was apparent everyone was there primarily to hear songs from Five Star Laundry, with some people chanting for Siamese. More hits were next (in fact the set was 90% hits), as they played American Shoes and Pieces, before the band announced they would be taking a five minute break after one more song. “We don’t do this whole encore business” they said as the opening bars of the first song they ever wrote together (and one of their best), Siamese, rang out to big cheers.

A quick break, for a cuppa presumably – we are all 20 years older after all – and the band returned to stage with Hey Driver. Overheard in the crowd was someone saying “this night has gone way to quickly,” which is always a sign of a good gig. Their five song ‘non-encore’ included another track from their self-titled EP Chromakey, followed by Death Defy which the band prefaced by saying “here it is!” as this was the track that launched them into national consciousness when it was used as the theme for TV show The Secret Life of Us. After another singalong in Chairman of the Board, they wrapped up the night with Carry On (despite someone yelling for Budge, to which the band replied “Did someone say Budge? You can’t finish on Budge!”)

Coming away from the gig we were reminded of just how many hits Motor Ace had written and what a great band they had been. Still incredibly tight, they are absolute pros. It was almost like no time has passed at all! Before leaving the stage they invited all of us to their gigs in Melbourne in a couple of weeks and to be honest, I think everyone in the crowd would have been keen to go. While that may not happen, 100% would put money on everyone getting home, pulling out their old CD players, and putting Five Star Laundry on repeat like it was 2001 again.


Photos by Alfred Gorman

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