BRIAN HENRY HOOPER
Groovie Bar, Malasana, Madrid
Spain
Thursday, August 25, 2005

By JUAN MARI ITURRARTE

Lots of us have been fans of Mr. Hooper for ages but, to some degree, he has always been in the shadow of seniors such as Mr. Salmon, Mr. Jones or Mr. Perkins.

You listen to those records for years and years and years and it's easy to notice the difference with and without him.You know there's SOMETHING inside this man which makes the difference.And then you wonder, when is Mr. Brian Henry Hooper going to do his own stuff???

The answer comes suddenly in the shape of a forgotten album such as "The Voyuers". Its songs were up there on the Internet for ages for anyone to grab. Not fair. So a release for that record comes true while Brian is half dead and paralysed. But of course it's a total success in Europe.

In this Continent, we thought for ages that all of the Beasts were cashed-up and living in big farms in NSW with recording studios in their basements. Isn't life shit? One day you find out that they have their own 9 to 5 work and you wonder what is going on in Australia when REAL Aussie music is kept apart and wannabes are all over the airwaves. We have a problem.

Well, Beasts of Bourbon decided to play in the Spanish (Basque Country) Festival Azkena in September. When they were offered a spot, they had their doubts. So they listened to names such as the Stooges, Radio Birdman, DKT-MC5, the Flamin' Groovies and the Cramps who'd played in previous years, and decided that this was one festival that was good enough for what many regard as the the best Aussie band ever.

Using that occasion, Mr. Hooper, after the Voyeurs album's success in Europe, decided to undertake his first-ever solo tour in Spain as a chance to present his his new album "Lemon Lime & Bitter". This album should have been out by the time he arrived but, due to the irresponsibility of his record label (BANG! Records), it didn't make it in time. Another delay by those fuckers!

Anyway Mr. Hooper and second guitarist Paul Mileham made a solo acoustic tour of 14 gigs all over Spain, most of them sold out.
Spanish audiences didn't know what to expect. They only knew that it was Brian Hooper doing new stuff.

What you see in these pictures from one of the shows. Clubs with capacity from 75 to 100 people. Really selective places. Most of them sold out (this one in Madrid was at the Groovie Bar in Malasana - one of the most dedicated clubs for rock and roll in Europe. 75 people capacity. Sold out in August during holiday time for Spanish people.

What we got was a total surprise. None of his previous stuff. All songs based in the forthcoming records. Songs full of blues, pain, hatred and loneliness. Songs all of us didn't know, but impossible to forget. "Rene", "Oh Brother", "Can't Take It Anymore" or "Drug Day", for example.

Songs full of melody, screaming, emotion and FEEL! Call it INTENSE (with a nod to Mr. Hooper and Mr. Salmon).

Mr. Paul Mileham (of Butterfly) was supporting Brian and his guitar summoned up a really dirty blues sound which I wish to listen to again in the Delta of the Yarra, some day.

In conclusion, all of us were really excited, sad and happy after a 75-minute concert, which was very short by very special to all of us.

Oh! Special mention to one song. The audience asked for his other bands' music. He rejected them all kindly except for "Touch of Affection" from The Voyeurs which a few guys in the crowd were shouting for. Thank you Mr. Hooper, we all wish to see you again next year. By then we will know your songs.

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