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Summer is coming! We are all eager to welcome back the hot summer music festivals period to our music calendars. There are a lot of music loving people who have been waiting to let loose with some fine music in the sun. Affectionally known as the grown up's Big Day Out - A Day On The Green has been going strong since 2001 and it has certainly become such a popular fixture on our summer music festival list. It is also a family friendly music event, with lots of music fans bringing deckchairs and their kids. This current tour has five classic '90's Aussie alternative rock bands performing: You Am I, Something For Kate, Spiderbait, Jebediah and The Meanies. The headliners are alternating every weekend and this is the halfway weekend of the six date touring circus that started last weekend in the NSW's Hunter Valley and ends next week in Perth's Kings Park. Melbourne punters get two bites of the Day On The Green cherry, as yesterday (Saturday) they played at Mr Duneed Estate in Geelong and today, they are going to deliver the musical goods in the Rochford Wines in Yarra Valley.
Prior to the event, the week before at the inaugural Corner Awards, I had a quick chat over a brew with Roderick Kempton aka Wally Meanie from The Meanies. I cheekily suggest to Wally that The Meanies should be higher up on the bill but Wally was quick to retort that Jebediah can sell out two nights at the Corner Hotel and we can barely fill out The Tote. Point taken. Wally is in a real upbeat mood and so he should be. Not only does this ADOTG tour start the next day but he gets to share the stage with a bunch of his very close muso mates, that have toured and partied together over the years.
I arrive early at Rochford Wines with the glorious sun shining brightly over the pristine green grass. The winery is on top of the hill and large stage on the other side, has orderly white plastic chairs facing the stage like an outdoor church service. The whole scene looks so peaceful and serene before the crowd arrives. I grab a strong coffee, quickly snap a 360 degree photo to share on Facebook and I have a chat with a lovely couple who won free tickets courtesy from a competition by Something For Kate. They want to personally thank the band and I suggest that all of the bands today will be signing goods at the Merchandise Desk. As the New York Dolls "Jet Boy" slowly fades out over the PA, Michael Newton of Roundhouse Entertainment approaches the stage looking very dapper with a stylish blue hat that matches his blue jacket. He gets the ball rolling with "Welcome to our 399th show and we have done 40 here at Rochford. It's like our home ground". Introducing the DJ, "Grand Master Baitz is on the decks, Ladies and Gentleman. He doesn't know if he is Björn Borg, Arthur Dunger or Leo Wanker but he plays good tunes", as he whacks a tennis ball high into the crowd to giveaway some free merchandise. During the day we will see Grand Master Baitz wearing outrageous costumes, as he hams it up on stage with lots of dance move and air guitar rock poses.
As The Meanies had a successful 20 date tour of Spain over May and June this year, Michael introduces the band as "Señor Link and Los Meanies". Link Meanie shoots me a beaming smile as I stand in the photographer's pit. The Meanies kick off their set with the 'You Know The Drill' from their excellent comeback album It's Not Me, It's You. It doesn't take long before Link strips off his black leather jacket and start those energetic dance moves with crazy legs akimbo. The bloodcurling screams that Link shouts during '10% Weird' always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It's an obvious crowd favourite and they roar back appreciatedly.
It is so great to see The Meanies in full flight in the afternoon sun. They bash out their trademark short and punchy songs including some of my favourites like 'Never', 'Rhyming Logic', 'Scum', 'Gangrenous' with the odd new tune like 'There's A Gap'. Ringo is wailing away on drums, while sporting a thick beard and Jaws is laying down some tasty wah wah pedal guitar action. For the past few years The Meanies have been ending their set with a cover of Bored's 'Feed Your Dog' but in recent times they have been closing with the piledriving 'Keep The Balance'. The song ebbs and flows and Link gives his usual 101% but doesn't break his collarbone today. I see Wally laughing at Link's stage antics. He is certainly is enjoying himself.
Next up, it's Jebediah. Kevin Mitchell (aka Bob Evans) is replendent is a stylish red leather jacket. Maybe it's a Michael Jackson's Thriller homage? The band kicks it into high gear with their second song, 'Animal'. Bassist Vanessa Thornton is a whirling dervish, as she spins around while swinging her well loved Fender Jazz Bass.
Kevin quips, "A long time ago we wrote a song that was all about the increasing house prices and the difficulty of getting into the market. Mortgage stress. A lot of people didn't get it at the time because it was so ahead of it's time but more people are now getting into the true nature and the lyrics of this song....and it goes something like this." The band burst into the Slightly Odway smash hit, 'Leaving Home'. It was a Top Ten Triple J Hottest 100 chart topper in 1997 and it still sounds so fresh today. The melodic 'Harpoon' is one of my favourites of their set and their fans are truly loving it. They end their energetic set by ramping it up into a high gear with 'Teflon' with Kevin singing 'Slipping along...Yeah!".
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS....so come back soon when the final review is ready. :D
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