Monday, May 07, 2012
Another tale of punk-rock-pounding down under, this one from David Swift in "The Melbourne". Note - it's not the Cavern Club...
THE SONICS at the Caravan Club
Oakleigh RSL, suburban SE Melbourne Australia
Friday April 27
So you spend 30 years listening to 'em, thinking you will never EVER get to see 'em, and then The Sonics turn up locally and smash you in the lugs twice in three days!
There is an inescapable law of diminishing returns about rock'n'roll reunions and they are (almost) always best avoided. But.....it's The Sonics. How could you not go-see? Even ''older and wiser' at 50, I could not resist. And did not. And these guys are all pushing 70 now.
But then, two days later, attention turned - keeping it Anzac-esque - to a veterans' club in suburban southeast Melbourne which occasionally doubles as a gig venue. (As Returned Services League clubs, equivalent to British Legion bars, have done for several decades here.) The Caravan Club, a hipster co-op who regularly book the RSL's dance hall and occasionally land some great acts including the Celibate Rifles 3 months ago, somehow obtained the services of The Sonics for their only Australian side-show. The one time here they appeared solo separate from ''Dig It Up''.
Tickets went even faster than their Sub-Pop compilation CD of some years back and the ''sold out" sign was on the website within a matter of days. Capacity about 300, it's about the same size as King Tut's in Glasgow but doesn't hold as many people because there's a tables-and-chairs section for the older punters. Not that, on this night, there were many older than the band... The Sonics took to the stage to rapturous applause and it was clear by the air of excitement that a great many people had chosen this small event instead of the package-deal two days earlier to witness history being made. Age shall not weary them!
On the other hand, band leader Gerry Roslie - while still pumping the keyboards fiercely - has clearly lost his formidable growl at the microphone, and expecting to hear him wail and holler just like he did in those first sessions for Etiquette is just too much optimistic. Which is where new-era ring-in Freddie Dennis on bass really shows his worth - he might well be of a near-pensionable age himself but he screams just like Mr Roslie did in 1965 and when he takes over the lead vocals on several numbers, things get real primitive.
The Sonics blasted through the set you would wish for with a couple of new additions and it has to be said that one fresh romp entitled ''Bad Attitude'' is a thunderbolt from the original DNA. Live at least, it stands right up there with their platinum punk and more than makes up for one or two inevitably weaker new offerings. It was a privilege and a blast to see and hear The Sonics in the flesh.
And they do their legend full justice.
Photos by David Swift