The Whitlams / Alex Lloyd / Deb Conway– The Gov Saturday 16 June 2018.
Words Geoff Jenke
On a bitterly cold, wet night in Adelaide it would have been easy to stay home and watch the Crows/Socceroos/Wallabies/Cricket/Le Mans 24 Hr on the idiot box, but the Gov always supplies a warm venue with great music so there was no excuse not to go. Besides, believe it or not, this was the first time I had ever seen The Whitlams.
Deborah Conway in an extremely sparkly dress opened proceeding, aided by Willy Zygier on an equally sparkly steel guitar. The set started with Alive and Brilliant and while Deb’s voice is wonderful it fails to get over the constant noise of people talking in the sold-out crowd. I have found this a constant annoyance at the Gov (Not The gov’s fault I may add) with support and sometimes even with main bands. A couple of ladies behind me complained they couldn’t hear her words above the din and they were right. After playing Book of Life Deborah let loose with some words I cannot repeat here about respect for the performer. She closed the set with Serpent’s Tooth, dedicating it to everyone who has teenagers and to those who one day, will have them.
Alex Lloyd is a big man with a big voice that filled the room and rose above the talkers. He played seated and had the audience eating out of his hand. His version of Hallelujah is a thing of beauty but of course it is the song Amazing the audience want to hear and when he played it, Alex didn’t need to sing the words, as everyone sang it out loud.
With the strains of Handsome Boy Modelling School ringing out of the P.A., The Whitlams made their way on stage and into I Will Not Go Quietly. For the next 2 hours and 29 songs we were entertained by one of the most professional bands in Australia I have seen in a long time. Tim Freedman is an amazing showman. In fact, one can see Tim and band playing the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 10 years’ time to sell out shows in Festival Theatre.
Charlie 1 and Charlie 3 from the Eternal Nightcap album came out early (and Charlie 2 (Buy Now Pay Later) came late in the set) followed by Lester Walker. Tim was in fine form telling stories between songs, like how parents use to bring their 8-year-old children to shows and these children now attend the concerts. Also, about playing Adelaide many years ago when the Crows were playing a big game at home and only “4” people turned up to the gig. He dedicated a song to those “4” people.
The band behind Tim (or in the case of guitarist Jack Housden, in front of Tim) have been playing together as The Whitlam’s since 2001 and are fine tuned. Adelaide boy Warwick Hornby was on bass, Terepai Richmond on drums and the afore mentioned Jack Housden on guitar and vocals. Jack got to take the spotlight on a cover of Jeff Lynne’s 2015 song, When I Was A Boy, his voice not only sounding fantastic, but also shredding some great guitar solos.
Before White Horses Tim and Jack discussed Jack’s past, with Jack admitting he played on Darryl Braithwaite’s Horses song and we could all go check him out the video on Youtube. (which I did). Tim then introduced the song White Horses with a “it may not have been as big a hit as Darryl’s song but at least we wrote this one”.
During No Aphrodisiac, Tim played the music and the audience sang the song. Royal in the Afternoon, Following my own Tracks and the song “that gave us our name”, Gough rounded out the set. Of course, the audience was not going to let then stop there and the encore consisted of Laugh in Their Faces and “Here’s the song that bloke down the front has been sing out for all night, Hamburgers”.
I admit I am not a huge Whitlam’s fan, although have always appreciated how good they are on record. Two sold out shows at The Gov support how good they are live and I for one cannot argue with them. Great show.
Trivia – Drummer Terepai is not only a great drummer but also a seasoned surfer, having been featured on the cover of many surfing magazines.