A Day On The Green: Hunters & Collectors

with You Am I, Something For Kate, British India

The Hunters & Collectors brought their first show of a reunion tour to Geelong’s picturesque Hill Winery to kick off the Australia Day long weekend with an afternoon and evening of Aussie rock.

Kicking off around 4:30 Melbourne locals British India brought some unquestionable youth and exuberance to the A Day On The Green’s usually older contemporary bill. Many people still hadn’t arrived for their set, particularly the more expensive seated tickets up the front, however the band, through their frontman Declan Melia, warmed themselves to the crowd.

Drawing heavily from their most recent album Controller with hits such as the recently gold-certified ‘I Can Make You Love Me’ and number 81 in the recent 2013 Hottest 100 ‘Summer Forgive Me’ as well as cuts from their previous three independent released.

Given the average age of attendees and the seated venue, this reviewer has predicted that the band may alter their set list and throw in some softer songs, however they went for energy and kicked off the afternoon’s proceedings with a bang. The amount of people who suddenly made a beeline for the merch desk to buy copies of their new album was testament to their performance.

Another band from up the Princes Highway, Something For Kate brought their unique and beloved brand of melodic pop rock with them among a slew of well-known tracks from their twenty-year career. Coming into the show as anything but a fan of the band, I was extremely pleasantly surprised with their set.

Filled with many “Oh I know this one” moments from attendees and sublime live vocals from singer Paul Dempsey, who sounds better live than on recordings, the band managed to get a lot of the crowd up and moving.

Elder statesmen and Aussie rock stalwarts You Am I had the job of lead support as the sun began to set. Irrepressible frontman and Australian music icon Tim Rogers was at his brilliant best. Dressed in a white suit, Rogers was energetic, irreverent, self-deprecating and genuinely funny.

Rogers’ swagger, enthusiasm and rockabilly sensibility was a joy to watch, even if it appeared many didn’t know a lot of their back catalogue. However a influential pocket of spectators made up for the rest by getting on their feet for the entirety of the set.

Not long after 8:30 when the venue got to around three-quarters full, the main act arrived onstage. Hunters & Collectors were greeted with a thoroughly warm reception. They played a generous set that consisted of two encores, however as Mark Seymour put it, “we have a lot of stories and not enough time”.

The “stories” they chose to tell, for the most part weren’t always the most ideal choices. While many of the audience were clearly hardcore fans, a good half of the songs failed to really get people involved, be it dancing or singing along.

‘Holy Grail’ and first song of the first encore ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ were obvious highlights, and they were always going to be. The latter was particularly special, prompting a sing-along on a massive scale.

The entire day was an enjoyable laid back one, with a costumed DJ in between acts creating a great chilled vibe. The main disappointment with the day was that the headline failed to outdo any of the supports and went on too long with a second encore that didn’t see them finish with one of their strongest songs.
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