Mondo Rock– The Gov – Friday 16 August 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
According to Ross Wilson, Mondo Rock formed in 1976 after he released his solo single Living in the Land of Ozand didn’t have a band to tour with. The band playing this evening was the “classic” line up which features Paul Christie on bass, Eric McCusker on guitar and James Black on keyboards. It was this line up with Gil Mathews on drums that recorded the breakthrough album Chemistryway back in 1981.
Mondo Rock kicked off with Dark Secrets, a lesser known single from 1984 and while the band are looking older, the playing is definitely still passionate. The band is probably the consummate band any singer could wish for behind them, with a pedigree as long as your arm. The hit singles, Cool World and Chemistry came up next and the crowd were soon singing along to the song. When announcing Mondo Rock’s first single, TheFugitive Kind, Ross laughingly said it “stiffed here in Adelaide”, however, the reception to it from the audience suggested otherwise.
At one stage, Ross went over to a punter next to the stage who had been giving Ross a bit of grief. “Here” Ross said handing him the mike, “You take over”. The guy said “You should retire” to many boos from the audience. Ross professionally ignored him for the rest of the evening and rightly so.
Eric McCusker took the vocals for No One Comes Close, a song he wrote for John Farnham’s Whispering Jackalbum and proudly told us the royalties paid for his own recording studio. Ross followed it with A Touch of Paradise, a song from Mondo Rocks Nuovo Mondoalbum, but which John Farnham made famous on the Whispering Jackalbum. Ross suggested “Farnsey and Barnsey could do a major tour and it could be followed by a Rossy and Mossy tour”. Now that would be something.
His tour wasn’t called Hits! Baby! Hits! for nothing as State of the Heart, Baby Wants to Rock, Summer of 81 and Come Said the Boyrounded out the evening. It is easy to forget just how many big hits the band had between 1978 and 1990.
Encore consisted of Searching for My Babyfrom the debut album Primal Park and No Time, a song inspired apparently by the Beatles Don’t Let Me Down and a tribute to John Lennon.
The Gov was packed on the Friday night and with another big gig on the Saturday night, Mondo Rock are riding high on the resurgence of 1980’s music. With the album Chemistryhitting 30 in 2021, I am sure this is not the last time we will see Mondo Rock playing Adelaide.