Live review: John Spencer Blues Explosion + Hits, 06.08.15 @ The Zoo, Brisbane | a second opinion

Been a while since I’ve been to the zoo. Any zoo actually. But this night I’m back in the grungy old warmness of the pub in the Valley. Walking up the stairs I see the stage draped with a massive star-spangled-banner. The mighty red, white and blue. Oh yeah, the “Yanks” are in town. Is that a derogative term these days or a term of endearment? I imply the latter though “they” can certainly be loud and brash at times. I kinda wish now I had have worn my “stars and stripes” jeans, well not in honour so much, but in keeping with the American theme. Alas they are soaking in their third dose of “Sard” after 3 days and nights of the Splendour muddage. I’m not sure if they’ll ever be fully resurrected. Maybe they should be buried at Wounded Knee seeing I went for a massive arse over tit mud- slide down the Amphitheatre hill into the Tipi Forest, ending up with wet black muddy aforementioned anatomy, twisted knee and loss of any thing remotely resembling dignity.

I took a few of the fleeing wilder-beasts with me on my graceless tumbling journey. A novel, not necessarily successful way to meet new people.

Meanwhile back at the Zoo. Dick Richards struts on stage to front Bris-band HITS and shows that Aussies can be loud and brash too. These guys are no-holes-bared – whatever that means – rock and roll. Dick’s scathing vocals, taunting, daring looks as he scans the audience menacingly, and bravado is engrossing. He stands stock-still centre-stage at one moment, glaring into the audience, then casually starts to chew his fingernail, spits it into the pit – right where I was standing, thanks Dick, then proceeds to pretend to pick his nose. Charming. Not. But entertaining non-the-less. I like these guys. Tamara and Stacey on guitars and backup vocals are two of the hottest rock chicks I know. HITS are tight, ballsy and cool.

I wonder if the guys in JSBX are within earshot when Dick spurts,  “This is for that”, pointing at the American flag, “for that, for that”, over and over. Then ponders loudly, “I wonder what it’s like to feel so patriotic that you have your country’s flag as your back-drop. Don’t know how that is”.

Then launches into a song called “Disappointed”.

‘You think you’re something

But you’re nothing at all’.

Dissing Australia? America? Draw your own conclusions.

JSBX don’t disappoint. They take the stage and launch into their gutsy rock without taking a breath. This is a well-oiled machine. They have plied their no-frills rock n roll for nigh on 25 years so they know exactly what they are doing and how to do it. Their latest album “Freedom Tower” is the feature of the night. You can smell the grit and guts of New York City that spawned it.

John exclaiming over and over “It’s a blues explosion. Come on”. He practically swallows the microphone as he growls and snarls. I can’t help but wonder if his knees or his voice-box will give-out first, if ever.

Respect to Bauer on guitar for his warm stage presence, musicianship, genuine smiles and high 5’s to the mob in the mosh. Oh, and for your coolness. Nice work.

Thanks JSBX, Hits and the zoooooies for a rollicking, raucous night of damn fine rock and roll.

Be first to comment