Gaelic Club, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia
July 29, 2004

So what was all the fuss about?

With all respect to the numerous reviewers around the US of A (one or two of them writing for us): Loosen up!

Evan Dando nailed the ballads, and played it pretty low key with no obvious hostile audience interaction. I was one of the ones scratching the head and asking "what the -? " when his name was announced. I take it all back.

Co-vocalist Mark Arm excelled. He over-reached on "Over and Over" but more than approximated the spirit of the band over the rest of the set. He also plays pretty good kazoo (on the "Sister Anne" outro).

Mark and Evan provide Salvation Army band accompaniement on cowbell and kazoo.

The Iceman was The Iceman and should have received more of the solos (or was I imagining a relegation to rhythm guitar? I've been wrong on this score before). Guest singer Rob Younger put in a heartfelt appearance, and showed why he should have been on every gig.

And the Five - really the Three - well, they absolutely rocked.

It was a show by a band - no, a musical collective - that mopped the floor with most acts of this ilk.

It was NOT the MC5. It WAS a fantastic celebration of the MC5.

Mick Blood serrates his vocal chords.

But onto the undercard. The Lime Spiders were a surprise packet. Tonight's show only came about because they e-mailed Wayne Kramer and asked for a support slot. With just one rehearsal under their belt (drummer Richard Lawson joked that they only play once every four years, with the offshoot band, Adolphus, having a more active schedule of party shows in friends' backyards).

This was a band of many line-ups. Latter-day Spider Dave Sparks provides what his name says on guitar with the well-entrenched Ged Corben the other slinger and as equally fiery. No sign of Eric Groethe, though, much to the disappointment of Paramatta's success-starved rugby league fans (that's a nice dig, coming from a lapsed Sharks follower).

Stage invasion, Spiders style.

The Spiders were one of THE bands to see in their early days (before the day-glo album covers and under 18 gigs) and gave many Sydney punters of my vintage their real exposure to the tunes of the Moving Sidewalks, The Litter et al. "Action Woman" remains a peerless classic and is the centre piece of an astonishingly powerful set. "Slave Girl" is not far behind tonight, and the go-go girls ("The Slave Girls"?) were a fine touch, even wearing what looked like the Psychotic Turnbuckles' faded green wigs.

Asteroid B612 dipped into their more recent catalogue to open the evening, drawing most of the songs from "Readin' Between the Lines", and positively burned.

Again, a killer cover surfaced - an extreme take on "Final Solution", with guest guitarist Kent Steedman, a song they originally recorded for the "Storming the Citadel" record label tributes. It was a demonstration of why this is a band without peer in Sydney, or most other places. Only Steedman's own Celibate Rifles come close.

Tonight's main event, DKT (Davis-Kramer-Thompson,) played to 500 or so enraptured punters. The irony was that the band they once allegedly blew off stage at Detroit's Grande Ballroom, The Who (aka "The Two") was playing to 12,000 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, a brisk 10-minute walk away.

(I also have it on good authority from someone who was at the Grande back on April 7, 1968 that, contrary to the hype, the Who were by no means disgraced on that occasion, but that's a whole other story).

Michael Davis, who can only only give us everything.

Bro Wayne's "Rambling Rose" set the pace, albeit without the soprano vocalising.

Brassless, "Sister Anne" nonetheless sizzled, aided by a hummed outro, replete with Mark Arm kazoo accompaniment and dual cowbell embellishment.

The poppier "Back in the USA" numbers predominated, with Dando's "Teenage Lust" and "Shakin' Street" stand-outs. But it was a forrmidable "I Believe to My Soul" and an exploratory "Starship" that were the real showstoppers.

Rob Younger's vocal guest spot on "Looking at You" and "Gotta Keep Moving" mid-set lifted the intensity more than a notch. At no stage did he betray genuine nervousness at the prospect of joining this starry line-up. Done fine, played strong.

A pensive Rob Younger who has to keep moving.

The Machine Gun works on demolishing his kit.

The real star, for mine however, was firmly anchored behind the traps. Dennis Thompson is a marvel, his hand speed back after 30-plus shows of this tour and his mastery of feel near impeccable. There were no barnstorming fills, a la the New Race tour (not 'cos he couldn't have done them but because they wouldn't have fitted), just sweat and a monstrous backbeat.

There wasn't an afro or a spangly jacket in sight, but Wayne Kramer's soloing is also a delight and recalled some of his best efforts from the 1996 tour as support to Radio Birdman.

Kramer and Tek compare notes.

Deniz and that Epiphone.

Dr Tek's all-too-occasional forays into the spotlight didn't fail to fire, guided, as they were by the spirit of Sonic Smith, whose white Epiphone Crestwood he played. Speaking of guitars, some people are born to wear them, just right. D. Tek and W. Kramer both belong in that club.

This is the sort of thing that could soar or fall flat on its face. No prizes for working out which way the cards fell tonight. Just let the narky reviewers at the Sydney Morning Herald try and diss it. - The Barman