THE PRETTY THINGS @ Charles Hotel gets 9/10

The Pretty Things @ The Charles Hotel
w/ Datura4, Rockin’ Hendy and the Roaring Mongrels


The Pretty Things are one of the most important acts of the original British R&B scene from the 1960s. This movement of American blues and rock emulation was the beginning and stepping stone to the success and musical development of icons such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, The Kinks, and The Small Faces. These bands idolised and took inspiration from Chicago blues sounds to incorporate and experiment, and develop their own rhythmic style, based on the likes of Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf. The Pretty Things were a defining band of this genre. Their uniqueness led to the creation of one of the first concept albums of the 60s, and they became icons and pioneers of the British psychedelic rock scene. As part of their farewell tour, the band played The Charles Hotel on Sunday night, here in WA for the first and last time.

Rockin’ Hendy and the Roaring Mongrels

Rockin’ Hendy and the Roaring Mongrels opened the night, performing a series of fast-paced bluesy and rock and roll original material. With James Baker on drums, the trio’s sound is exciting, loud and raw.

Dom Mariani of Datura 4

Datura4 were up next, and couldn’t have been a more perfect choice for support. Their early 70s hard hitting bell-bottom blues, and raw rock and roll authenticity is absolutely brilliant. This band is pure talent, made up of experienced musicians led by The Stems’ Dom Mariani, and the best sounding local act I have heard. With bluesy, Hendrix-inspired guitar riffs, groovy, Deep Purple 70s-sounding chiming keys, over smooth vocals, Datura 4 are exceptional. The band has amazing interplay between Mariani’s stage presence and guitar riffs with the hammond organ. Anyone living in Perth should be listening to this band.

Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things

Around 9pm, The Pretty Things came on, with a line up consisting of original members Dick Taylor and Phil May, and more recent contributors Frank Holland, George Woosey and Jack Greenwood.

At 75, Dick Taylor’s riff work is still amazingly brilliant and Phil May’s voice is iconic, together creating a genuinely excellent and nostalgic 60s R&B vibe. Taylor performed elegant electric blues licks with ease, before switching to acoustic and demonstrating his impressive slide guitar blues. Every note was still perfect, complementing the rawness of May’s vocals, and depicting the true greatness of Taylor’s guitar technique and blues style. May’s vocals are still strong and versatile as he switched with ease from R&B to psychedelia-based songs throughout the night. Frank Holland’s harmonica additions were brilliant, and the rhythmic backline of Woosey and Greenwood added substance to the overall sound.

With a catalogue spanning 55 years, every song performed on the night was significant. From Mr Evasion, Roadrunner, LSD, Honey I Need and Midnight to Six to thoughtful compositions from album S.F. Sorrow, the setlist could not have been better.

Just by witnessing their performance and live sound you can tell that both Taylor and May love being (and rightfully belong) on stage, and that the audience was in the presence of professional and talented musicians. Their live sound is still exciting, raw and unique and was clearly admired by the audience at The Charles Hotel. At the end of the night the band generously stuck around, took photos with fans and autographed merchandise.

The Pretty Things will be performing their last ever show as a band on December 13 in London with special guests David Gilmour and Van Morrison, sadly marking an end to an important and remarkable career. Seeing this band for the first and last time in Perth was an absolute treat. Their contribution to music is vast and influence outstanding. Witnessing their genius live is a reminder of what remains from the greatest era of music.

Words and photos by ALEXIA LARCHER

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