Icecream Hands & The Trafalgars– Jive – Saturday 11 May 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
Rock and Roll is a cruel mistress. How often have you seen an artist sell out stadiums and sell millions of records and ask yourself, “Why them? They have nothing to offer. I know a lot a bands better than them who haven’t made it”. Yes, for every band who does make it, there are thousands who haven’t, and these bands are left just to play to those “of us in the know”. This evening we had two such bands.
The Trafalgars have been around since 2002, sharing a love of bands like You Am I, The Kinks, The Who, Supergrass etc. And it tells in their music, a blend of 60’s pop and 90’s rock. Rhys, Jason and Matt were obviously having a good time on stage, Rhys, proudly displaying a Crows badge more so, getting updated Showdown scores from the audience. The band were tight considering they don’t get to play too often (and that is a shame).
The set started with a few classic older songs from their two E.P’s, both of which were released over 15 years ago. London Taxi, Madeline Jones and2ndHand Girlwhich Rhys dedicated to “a girl I once met. She wasn’t a bad piece”. He is now married to said girl. The songs still sounded fresh and as if they had been written recently. Then we had a serve of new songs from a forth coming album, “hopefully later this year but more likely next year”. These songs sounded wonderful, with the song Girla stand out. Let’s hope the release of the new album gives The Trafalgars some deserved recognition.
Charles Jenkins lived in Adelaide when he started his musical career with Mad Turks from Istanbul. After relocating to Melbourne, Mad Turks morphed into Icecream Hands around 1992. After several album releases the band went into hiatus around 2004, but it is great to have them back celebrating the 20thanniversary of the album Sweeter Than the Radio.
Charles Jenkins is a charismatic front man. He always has a smile on his face and has a lot of fun with the audience. This night he told us “we are only going to play the songs that were top of the charts, all 20 of them” and during the evening kept going back to that theme with “are you sick of the hits yet?” “here is another song that was toppermost of the charts”.
Ok, the songs may not have been hits, but they should have sold by the truck load. Charles Jenkins writes great songs. The band launched intoRise Fall and Rolland then for the rest of the evening gave us some of the classic Icecream Hands songs from over the years. Spirit Level Windowsill, Dodgy, Come Along, Stupid Boy, Broken UFO andWhy’d You Have To Leave Me This Wayare just a few of the 20 plus songs played this night that backs that statement up. At one stage Charles told us they were going to play a new song so we should “go for a drink or a smoke or something”. However, the new songs were as good as everything else played during the evening.
Also praise to bass player Douglas Robertson for singing lead vocal on several songs. It was obvious this was a band effort, not just a Charles Jenkins project. Gasworks Parkis one of the most beautiful songs I have heard this century and tonight, live, Charles and band took it to a new level. Magnificent.
Yes, Rock n Roll is a harsh mistress. Both these bands should be playing much larger venues, but I guess it is lucky for us to able to see them in such intimate mode.
However, they do deserve much more. They are that good.