Ian Rilen Benefit Concerts
Prince of Wales Hotel, St Kilda
Thursday October 5
& Friday, October 6, 2006
Words & Images: RICHARD SHARMAN
of BLACKSHADOW PHOTOGRAPHY
For two sensational nights the Prince of Wales was filled with people gathered to watch some of the most respected people in Australian music give up there time to perform for Ian Rilen.
Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon fame kicked off the first night with a fine acoustic set before Don Walker and the Suave Fucks played a fantastic selection - it was great to see Don out from behind a keyboard and in frontman mode - he truly was one Suave Fuck!
Next up was Nick Barker and his band they rocked and rolled - highpoint of their set was covering Ian Rilen's "Stuck on You" which he penned while with Sardine V.
Paul Kelly then took to the stage; he showed just how great one man a guitar and harmonica can be. One of the most poignant moments of the night was when he dedicated "From St Kilda to Kings Cross" to Ian Rilen.
Tim Rogers and the Temperance Union upped the ante with a fully rocking set which closed out with an incendiary version of the MC5 classic "Kick Out The Jams".
The Beasts of Bourbon came on stage with all guns blazing - a couple of minor fluffs and restarts fired them up even further and they were off in their full magnificent roar. The crowd were treated to a set that interspersed a number of old Beasts classics and previewed four new tracks from a new, as yet unreleased album. The new track "Master and Slave" is an absolute killer - when you hear it it's gonna blow your brains out.
Winding down Thursday night was GUT - a full throttle four piece fronted by a professional wrestler named Ox - good old school hardcore.
Friday saw a few sore heads reappear at the Prince and the sold out room quickly filled.
Straight from a performance in front of 100,000 people at the AFL Grand Final Sean Kelly and band opened proceedings on day 2 - what a difference a week makes! A few originals and the odd cover including Lou Reed's "Busload of Faith".
Long time Ian Rilen X cohort Steve Lucas in solo acoustic mode captured the crowd's attention. Highlights of his set were two X classics, "Sad Days Girl" and "Don't Cry No Tears" along with a song Steve Lucas has made his own - John Lennon's "Mother".
An air of anticipation was building as Maurice Frawley and the Yardhands set feet a tapping.
It wasn't just AFL Grand Final performers gracing the stage; fresh from their appearance at the other code Grand Final the Hoodoo Gurus then kicked the night into rock mode and blew the room apart - sweat soaked bodies dancing and singing along to a string of Hoodoos classics. After a short break the Hoodoos returned to stage and let rip with the old Sardine V "Sabotage" before being joined on stage by Chrissie Amphlett for a show stopping version of The Easybeats' "I'll Make You Happy".
The Spazzys then threw a bit of girl power into the night's proceedings. The girls delivered finely honed pop tinged rock and previewed some new material from a recently recorded album that is due out early next year.
There was a short break as MC Tony Biggs conducted a raffle draw for a Fender Stratocaster and an autographed photo of Ian Rilen - great booty for the winners!
Rose Tattoo blasted on to the stage with their amps cranked to overload. They demonstrated that after thirty years they still deliver with brute force. The Tatts tore through some classic old stuff and a few new tunes from a new album that is in the works. They have resurrected the old Stevie Wright tune “Black Eyed Bruiser” and injected it with a gritty fire. When the Tatts launched into the Ian Rilen classic “Bad Boy for Love” the crowd went berserk as one of Ian’s daughters joined the band on stage. Just when you thought it couldn’t get much better the Aztec warrior Billy Thorpe appeared on stage and ripped through “Going Down”. Anyone who may think the Tatts are a spent force in Australian music should get out and see them to witness their sheer power.
Closing the two nights was Kim Volkman and The Whiskey Priests. Kim is best known Ian Rilen’s lead guitarist in The Love Addicts and once again proved himself to be one of the finest guitar slingers in Australia at present. Those still standing witnessed his mastery as they tore through a scorching set of high octane rock and roll punctuated by some dazzling solo work. A fitting way to bring proceedings to an end.
Unfortunately Ian Rilen wasn’t well enough to attend on either night. It was heartening to witness the generosity of the many people who donated their time and energy to make this benefit possible and express their gratitude for the pleasure a true giant of the Australian music scene has given them over the years.
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