Clipsal 500 After Race Concert – Friday
As I arrived at the main stage of the Clipsal 500 track, Operator Please were just beginning amidst the fumes and squeals of the last laps of the classic car race. They broke into Get What You Want, as I made my way through the 20,000 strong crowd to get a better look at the band. I pulled up parallel to the stomach churning carnival rides, and somehow ended up behind the biggest dude in sight wearing a sombrero made from a West End Draught carton. Operator Please struck me as all being very young, but put on a seasoned, professional show. While a little unorthodox, the addition of a violin contributed well to the melodies of the songs. The standout though was Amandah Wilkinson singing and playing her Rickenbacker guitar. She rocked and sang great, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs came instantly to mind. It was just getting dark as they finished their set with Just A Song About Ping Pong and Zero Zero.
Operator Please left the stage and the MC came on to try and pass the time and keep the crowd occupied while Faker were getting ready to perform. The – “are there any Holden fans out there?’ and – “are there any Ford fans out there?’, as well as my friend with the draught sombrero reminded me we were still at the Clipsal.
Faker came on and played their first song Don’t Hide, lead singer Nathan Hudson running all over the stage and standing on the foldback speakers. They put on quite an energetic show, during the second song Hurricane Nathan climbed the scaffolding in what was looking to be a stage dive of lethal proportions, but chickened out. He almost made up for it straight after though when he lay down on the stage and curled his legs over his head, his protruding arse filling the screen behind him. Their third song Killer On The Loose was lyrically reminiscent of Riders On The Storm, and was followed by Sleepwalking, Lazy Bones, and Voodoo Economics, played in the same order as they appear in their 2007 album Be The Twilight. Their songs were well constructed, but I found their overall sound a little too generically brit pop/rock. Their last song, and the one everyone was waiting for was This Heart Attack. It was a great round off to an energetic show.
Our delightful MC came on again; making us wish Pete Murray would hurry up and perform. This was the act I came here to see. They opened with a punchy number with left handed guitarist Brett Wood playing slide on his hollow body guitar seated, lapsteel style. Pete picked up an electric guitar and they stated into the first track from his Summer At Eureka album Chance To Say Goodbye. An upbeat, overdriven rocky number but with his trademark smooth, smoky melodies. Crowd favourite You Pick Me Up was next, with its catchy melody and wah guitar hook. By the end of the song, the bullet slingshot was still going, and weed was wafting through the air. I tried to ignore the cries of – “cut your hair, faggot!’ directed at Pete from one class act behind me, as Pete dedicated the next song Better Days to himself. He was hungover this morning, and got driven three laps around the race track, afterwhich he threw up. It was another crowd favourite, and he stopped after playing a few bars, teasing the crowd. They played a few more electric songs, featuring plenty of wah and slide, as well as a couple of jams and a drum solo. They toned it down with a couple of acoustic numbers including Feeler’s So Beautiful, with the crowd singing along word for word, and drummer Andy Sylvio sitting behind them tapping a tambourine. They gave a great warm, homely vibe. As it got darker and the crowd drunker, the mood started to change. People were pushing to get up the front, rowdy and obviously in the mood for a Preset sonic boom. They went into Saving Grace, and finished on Imaginary Fields, with added electric guitar effects and a broken up keys solo. They finished a great set with a rather epic guitar solo.
The excitement continued to build towards what everyone seemed to be waiting for, The Presets. The host came on again and after a few more Holden and Ford cries announced the Presets would be on soon. – “On soon?!’ cried one punter with his rather hefty girlfriend sitting on his shoulders, – “My shoulders are fucking killing me, get – “em on now!!’ The crowd grew restless and started chanting – “Presets..Presets..’ in what sounded so unbelievably like the chorus of a Wesley Willis song, that I burst out laughing. I knew things were turning ugly when they broke into the national anthem, and some guy next to me decided to take a piss on the grass, but luckily the Presets came on and hypnotized the crowd with Talk Like That. As soon as Julian sang – “Oh oh’, they turned into a cog in the Preset machine, jumping and singing word for word. There seemed to be a little more improvisation in this show than when I saw them in Adelaide last year, with more keys and – “knob fiddling’ by Julian to alter the sound. Together was followed by This Boy’s In Love, which finished with Julian singing through a talkbox, sounding like a choir of androids. The set peaked with My People, and I got the impression that rather than a band, they were operating a spaceship which took off to 50s style alien movie music and psychedelic lights.
It was a great night played by some of Australia’s finest, and while Pete Murray got my vote, it was My People that was pumping through my head on the way out.