LIVE REVIEW: Midnight Oil @ Sydney Domain

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The Great Circle Tour came full circle, back to the city where it all began seven months ago with a warm-up show at Marrickville Bowling Club. Since then, Midnight Oil have conquered the world once more, returning sounding better than ever and with an enviable and overflowing back catalogue of generation-defining songs.

AB Original went down a treat as the opening act, standing tall and delivering their message of pride, culture and politics. A live drummer and keyboardist gave their sound depth and an organic feel. Hands were waved in the air as the celebratory outdoor-gig vibe kicked in, but not at the expense of conveying the importance of Briggs and Trials’ messages.

Although still with a conscience slant, John Butler Trio have a much more subtle delivery. Their breezy, rhythm-driven sound and Butler’s exceptional guitar playing worked well as the calm before the headliners’ arrival. It also may have helped to mellow out the copious tinnie-sinking punters who seemed to be intent on reliving their youthful excesses.

With slogans and messages of human and environmental rights peppering the large screens, Midnight Oil emerged on the towering stage and, as was appropriate, began with Armistice Day, Peter Garrett singing from beneath a hood. With crystalline sound they accelerated into Read About It, the screams of recognition immediate from that opening cowbell/guitar. From there it was a faultless set, balanced in its mix of the earliest of songs including Section 5 (Bus To Bondi) through to the biggest of hits – Power And The Passion, Beds Are Burning, The Dead Heart, Forgotten Years. Drummer Rob Hirst was having a ball, his muscular drumming a musical celebration of the band’s spirit in itself, joining the band front of stage mid-set for US Forces and Kosciusko. Nothing was lost with Jim Moginie restricted to a chair after his Melbourne fall, his playing a revelation of guitar and keyboards, the ingredients that added post-punk, art-rock and psych twists and turns to the band’s sound. Put Down That Weapon was reshaped as a slow-burning number and the large screens gave a fascinating insight into his and the rest of the band’s playing. Garrett is still the star of the show, though, the mad marionette dancer relishing the large stage and exploring every inch like the seasoned pro he is. He also created an intimacy with the audience with his interactions and expositions.

Sure, there were the requisite and important social and political messages, preached to the mostly converted, but the overriding message was a celebration of the music, songs that soundtracked more than one generation and still burn strong with real heart and soul.

Chris Familton

Here’s our Spotify playlist of the songs played in the Midnight Oil set:

 

NEWS: BYRON BAY BLUESFEST 2009 Line-up…

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The first run of acts for the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2009 Blues & Roots Festival has been announced.

Leading the pack is Ben Harper and Michael Franti and Spearhead (surprise, surprise). These guys must surely be honorary Australians by now.

Of the other acts, the most notable inclusions in the humble opinion of Doubtful Sounds is Drive By Truckers, Tinariwen, Seasick Steve and Lucinda Williams.  There are many Lucinda fans that were gutted when she cancelled her tour a few years back due to the death of her mother.  Fingers crossed we get sideshows for these and other acts in Sydney and other parts of Australia and New Zealand.

The full line up announced so far is:

Ben Harper and Relentless7, John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Lucinda Williams, Zappa Plays Zappa, Angelique Kidjo, Tinariwen, Eric Bibb, Seasick Steve, Tony Joe White, Ruthie Foster, Blind Boys Of Alabama, Drive-By Truckers, Toni Childs, Ayo, Luka Bloom, Alpha Blondy, The Easy Allstars, Special Beat, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, The Easy All Stars, Special Beat, Augie March, Alabama, Blue King Brown, Saltwater Band, Sonny Landreth, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Hot Club of Cowtown, Eugene Hideaway Bridges, The Bamboos, Watussi, Lowrider, Nu Yorican Nights, Benny Gallagher, Bob Log III., Lowrider, Nu Yorican Nights.

The 20th anniversary of the festival takes place on the 9-13th April 2009 at Belongil Fields and full info on tickets, camping etc can be found at www.bluesfest.com.au

Drive By Truckers: