HOODOO GURUS
Barfly, Brighton, UK
August 26, 2007


By PETER CRAVEN

The ‘Gurus last played Brighton (to my knowledge) in late ’85. I know this, cuz I had waited for them to hit our shores, after picking up a copy of the “I Want You Back” seven-inch. Rumours of a tour were rife, but as the year ground on, still no shows. So I went and planned a trip overseas, and sure enough, with the trip all booked, the gig dates were announced, and I was gonna be a thousand miles away (if you will) by the time they would be playing. That’s the breaks. The gig incidentally was at The Escape Club on the seafront, which is now a shitty nightclub called Audio. And talking of which…

…tonight’s gig is at the recently re-vamped Gloucester nightclub, which has been taken over by the Barfly chain. And apart from sticking a banner with their brand name on as a stage backdrop, well… it’s still the same shitty club I spent many a drunken night in years ago. As a supposed live music venue, it’s shoddy to say the least; the band is almost penned in behind a barrier in front of the stage, and the sound is pretty weak. By the time the ‘Gurus hit the stage there’s a respectable enough crowd assembled, seemingly against the odds considering the inflated ticket price and to my eyes, minimal advertising. Okay, that’s the negatives out the way…

… on the plus side, this is a very intimate gig by ‘Gurus standards, certainly for anyone from Oz, and the band are in fine form, kicking off with a blast from the stoneage – “(Let’s All) Turn On”… and they are up and running. You have to wonder at the assembled musicians on stage, who make up serious lineage of Australia’s illustrious underground musical heritage… at a pick - The Victims, Fun Things, Hitmen, New Christs…

As expected, the set is made up of material that encompasses the ‘Gurus long career. There are the popular standards… “What’s My Scene” “I Want You Back” “1000 Miles Away” and the very well received “Bittersweet”… but also some less obvious nuggets, namely the countrified “Hayride to Hell” and a cracking “Poison Pen” with Brad laying down his axe and going full tilt with some wild harmonica, and “The Right Time” from the latter day “Crank” opus is a real cool rocker of a number, as is “Form a Circle” from the same period.

Dave Faulkner appears to be in fine fettle, with plenty of lively banter and alongside long time drummer Mark Kingsmill and “new boy” Rick Grossman on bass (“he joined in ‘89”) there’s a workmanlike approach to what they do. In which case (to stretch the metaphysical) - Brad Shepard is working overtime… riffing ‘n rolling, and throwing his axe about in true Motor City style. They close with the party stomper “Miss Freelove ‘69”, and I have a flashback to the last time I saw the ‘Gurus – Paddo RSL ’91, when “Kinky” had just hit the racks. Where does time go?

It doesn’t take a lot of encouragement from the crowd, and to some enthusiastic foot stamping and hand clapping the band return for an encore… and after a couple more numbers (that escape me right now) they end their set with the wonderful “Like Wow (Wipeout)” from the mighty decent “Mars Needs Guitars”

And that’s it, all over. At this rate the next time they play Brighton I’ll be about retirement age… it’s not something I’ll be thinking about too much, heh…

Après gig my we hooked up with the three Oz RocknRoll fanatics who had driven over from France just for the gig and went for more beers and talked about music… music… music… yeah - that’s what I like!

 

BACK TO THE BAR

BACK TO THE REVIEWS PORTAL