Dinosaur Jr, Sunday September 28, 1997

Metropolis Perth

For the many kids who saw the end of the pop and pulp Countdown generation mutate into the all-embracing Rage regeneration, Dinosaur Jr has alway signified low-brow indie rawk and roll. In its early years, ABC TV’s Rage would screen the video of Dinosaur Jr’s Freak Scene every weekend as the epitome of US college radio’s adoration of long haired, lo-fi guitar discordance, a saturation which most loud Australian bands in the past decade can trace direct descendency from.

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Alice Cooper, Friday September 5, 1997

Perth Entertainment Centre

The tendency for withering rockers to beef up their shows with awesome explosions, technological diversions and improbably large inflatable farm animals is the norm in this age. The fact that we see none of it on this tour simply reiterates that this was Alice Cooper’s nightmarish gag twenty four years ago and he would now rather let the Marilyn Mansons of the world set the pace in cheesy theatrics.

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Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, Monday March 31, 1997

Burswood Superdome, Perth

One would have thought that Gloria Estefan had far outgrown the Latino strut and golden shimmer of Miami Sound Machine. Still technically their lead singer, she has overshadowed the big Florida party band sound with her solo accolades and through the synthesiser-swelled conservatism of love balladry and tales of broken hearts.

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Silverchair, Thursday March 27, 1997

McGilvray Oval

Through the tiny window of opportunity that ‘grunge’ opened for simple youth bitterness, Newcastle’s silverchair (mind the non title case punctuation, they like it that way) was Australia’s gift from the great Kurt Cobain in the sky. Recorded while the members were just fifteen years of age, frogstomp, silverchair’s debut album, went on to platinum sales in the US, Australia and New Zealand. With album number two, Freak Show, already following the former’s trajectory, their motives and talent became blazingly clear during their sermon to 6,000 kids in Perth last week.

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Everything But The Girl, Friday March 7, 1997

Metropolis Fremantle

With the demography of their audience swinging wildly between conservative listening-led folk canoodling their partners and dancefloor-bound style councillors hip to the remix craze sweeping the Anglo world, Everything But The Girl could hardly please everyone all of the time.

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The Stems, Friday February 28, 1997

Metropolis Concert Club, Fremantle

Let us take a fleeting glance back to those high-rolling mid-1980s, a time of teen magazines like Countdown and Smash Hits, lime green shirts and a paisley power-pop outfit from Perth called The Stems. Their simple yet unassailable songsmithery endeared them to a huge European music public, propelled them on to play the final Countdown and, as 1987 brought down piles of Perth’s entrepreneurs, so too did The Stems tear each other apart in a messy split which many thought irreconcilable.

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Toni Childs, Sunday November 23, 1996

The Regal Theatre, Subiaco

Have you ever felt that you have successfully progressed, set new standards, moved on … while everyone clings to your past glories? Such is the case with Toni Childs who, at the beginning of her latest Australian tour, is faced with having to let her latest material sit dormant while the wheels of industry cement her Best Of album at the top of the charts. This may be a nice little Xmas earner, but the strain and submission of having to resurrect old material for the sake of sales has never been more evident.

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Herbie Hancock, Tuesday November 12, 1996

The Regal Theatre, Subiaco

Ably assisted by the most astute Mr Rex Horan, Bmus., and Cinema Prague bassplayer virtuoso.

It has long been the tradition of jazz artists to take popular tunes and adapt them into “standards”. Herbie Hancock’s latest album, The New Standard, has the prodigious pianist/composer lending his deft hand to numbers by Don Henley, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and Prince, and so it came as no surprise for Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street to be given a solidly grooving Latin treatment to open Hancock’s latest Australian tour.

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AC/DC, Saturday November 2, 1996

Burswood Dome

Was accompanied by one of those famous The Australian cartoons of a slobbering Brian Johnson and Angus Young at 2/3 of the broadsheet’s page. In color in the Eastern States.

Brian Johnson, lead vocalist of arguably the world’s greatest rock and roll band, AC/DC, knew just how to whip this parochial crowd into rousing air-punching. “Here is a song written in Perth, about Perth, by a guy born in Perth.” The song was The Jack, and for a 20,000 strong crowd fully aware that they inhabit the late Bon Scott’s birth and final resting place, who cared that the song he was refering to was a tale of venereal disease? They were proud.

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Sting, Saturday October 19, 1996

Perth Entertainment Centre

REDRAFT. For inclusion in The Australian, Tuesday October 22

Firmly and forever entrenched on the conservative FM airwaves through his distinguished solo career and those heady days with The Police nearly twenty years ago, Sting is still musing on affairs of love and continues to send his now middle aged, middle class audience’s hearts aflutter.

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