Whoever it is at ‘A Day on the Green’ that chooses the bands for these landmark outdoor events, they sure know their audience.
Once again Rochford was filled to capacity for this latest instalment of rock and roll, wine and food. And it’s not just the audience that appreciates them. Later in the evening, Hunters and Collectors lead Mark Seymour would sincerely thank all for supporting live music and like every performer at the event, expressed his gratitude that this event exists and his admiration for the organisation that seems to have hit a musical sweet spot with fans.
It certainly gives a wider audience to many younger bands, and the day began in style with an outstanding set by British India. The quality of their song writing is incredible and when they played “I Can Make You Love Me”, the audience response was a resounding: “Well, yeah, you can if you play like that!” They displayed why they are one of Australia’s favourite new(er) bands. The great Harry Vander of Easybeats fame has had a hand in their albums and it shows with deserved success now flowing from their tireless hard work.
From them to a favourite for many, who (hard though it is to believe!) first played together 20 years ago – “Something for Kate”. Paul Dempsey’s unique voice and raw emotive song writing was on full display while drummer Clint Hyndman ensures they remain very much a rock n roll band – I feared for the survival of his kit during ‘Electricity’. They included some interesting and passionate covers of other artists work, but their own tracks were received with raptures from their many fans – including ‘Monsters’, ‘Déjà vu’ and ‘Cigarettes and Suitcases’.
Quiz time….Who would come on stage in a white suit that appears to have been cut from someone’s sofa and still look cool? A: Tim Rogers of course –Melbourne’s resident ‘Rock God’, leading You am I through a set of their cult classics – ecstatically received by the fans. At one point Tim blames his more outlandish behaviour on his having been ‘raised by wolves’! Nice try Tim, but they didn’t make the suit! A rowdy “Cathy’s Clown” brings their set to a riotous close.
By now the clouds had cleared to a still, crisp starry night. Time for a bite for dinner. I had an excellent chicken kebab….and a beer with some mates. Life’s good.
And so to the main event – Hunters and Collectors. Perhaps like me, your first sight of them back 30 years ago(!) was watching the video for “Talking to a Stranger” on TV, and thinking: “There’s something completely different about that band”. Well here it was, reproduced with undiminished passion and drive – the tribal bass and a horn section like a freight train! The huge video screen made sure even those waaaaay down the back were getting something truly special. The lighting was amazing – like being underwater with sunlight streaming…….ok, I’d had a beer or two, but it really was spectacular. A really rounded and complete performance and the crowd just couldn’t get enough.
Mark sums up the work of H&C in just two words – passion and emotion. There’s a level of emotional connection between H&C and the fans that is perhaps unique in Australian music. The lyrics are painfully honest and Aussie blokes that never read poetry will stand and sing with H&C the most touching words imaginable. When Mark performed ‘Throw you arms around me’ – we all did. Some even with people they knew!
As if things couldn’t get better, H&C were joined on stage for the finale by members of the other bands for a thunderous all-in rendition of The Saints classic “Know Your Product”.
What a great night….I mean a really great night. Thanks to Rochford and ADOTG for one to remember.
Review by Staff writer – Ross Cureton.
Photography – Kerry Kissell.