REGURGITATOR (OzAsia Festival) Space Theatre Friday 29 September 2017
Review by Geoff Jenke
In 1967 The Velvet Underground released their self-titled debut album with vocalist Nico. It was a controversial album with songs about prostitution, drug abuse and sexual deviancy. A commercial failure on release, largely ignored by critics, the album has since become recognised as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time. Brian Eno once famously said while the album only sold 30,000 copies on release, every one of those 30,000-people started a band. The Velvet Underground featured John Cale and Lou Reed in its line-up.
Regurgitator formed in Brisbane in 1990 and have had a long career in Australian rock, releasing songs such as Polyester Girl, Fat Cop and Blubber Boy. Tonight, Regurgitator were playing The Velvet Underground’s debut album with help from musician Mindy Meng Wang playing a large stringed instrument called the Guzheng (a stringed plucking instrument with 16 or more strings) and Australian singer Seja Vogel on keyboards and covering the Nico vocals.
They started with the beautiful mellow track Sunday Morning before surging into the rock electronica of Waiting for the Man. At the end of the song someone from the crowd yelled “Crank it up” with which front man Ben Ely agreed.
Playing the album in full and in order meant we all knew what song was coming next. Femme Fatale with Seja on vocals and Venus in Furs followed with the band remaining loyal to the original versions, although Mindy’s Guzheng added a distinct Asian sound to some of the music. During the song Run Run Run she pulled out a violin bow, ala Jimmy Page, to play the instrument.
Heroin, There She Goes came and went far too quickly before things came to a crashing finale with a loud version of European Song.
The Velvet Underground pushed boundaries 50 years ago and this night Regurgitator remained true to this avant-garde essence.