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As always at A Day On The Green the venue was a hive of activity as the large crowd arrived to stake their claim on a patch of ground in the afternoon sun. Everyone had their picnic blankets, camp chairs and Eskies of food preparing for a feast of live music over the next six or so hours.
First up and right on time was newcomer Alex Lahey and her three piece band who immediately made their presence felt with a strong confident rocking sound. Alex’s voice is clear and powerful as she sings lyrics in a narrative style about the everyday situations in her life. Early on Alex proved to be not only an accomplished singer/guitarist but a real personality, winning over the audience with her stories and in-between song banter. Musical highlights included the songs ‘Let’s Go Out’, ’Ivy League’ and the closer ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ all from her E.P. ‘B-Grade University’. New songs such as ‘Lotto In Reverse’, ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder’ and ‘I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself’ point to a strong debut album due later this year and suggest Alex Lahey is a name we will here a lot of in the near future.
Alex Lahey – ‘Let’s Go Out’
Next up was Montaigne who hit the stage running, literally. Montaigne (Jessica Cerro to her parents) never keeps still as she moves around the stage emphasising her lyrics with dramatic use of movement. Unearthed by triple j in 2012 at the age of 17 and with a number of releases under her belt, we got a selection of familiar songs including ‘In The Dark’, ‘I’m A Fantastic Wreck’ and the very catchy triple j Hottest 100 hit ‘Because I Love You’. The band is tight and there is a lot of use of synths and electronics however, for the song ‘Clip My Wings’ which was the first single from her album ‘Glorious Heights’, Montaigne picks up an acoustic guitar and gives a rousing vocal performance that clearly wins over the audience.
Montaigne – ‘In The Dark’
As the weather started to change and dark clouds filled the sky we were warned that a storm had hit Melbourne and was headed our way but regardless, the show would go on. So on came The Clouds who were enthusiastically welcomed by the now near capacity crowd. The band sounded every bit as good as they were during their peak in the 90’s. The audience danced and sang along to old favourites such as ‘Say It’ that highlighted the perfect harmonies of Jodi Phillis and Patricia Young.
Sitting comfortably among the familiar songs we're presented with a sampling from the new E.P. ‘Zaffre’ the best of which was ‘Mabel's Bookshop’. Unfortunately after announcing they would be at the merchandise counter to “sign copies of the E.P., cheques, Wills, etc” they launched into their most popular hit ‘Hieronymus’ only to be stopped mid song and told to vacate the stage.
The Clouds – ‘Say It’
PHOTO CREDIT: Bruce Butler
The storm had arrived. It was pouring rain and the very dark sky was being lit with lightning causing the promoters to ask the audience down the front to leave the area and for everyone to take shelter in their cars until it was safe to continue the show.
It was about 45 minutes before the storm had passed over and the rain had all but stopped when suddenly Blondie lit up the stage with an incredible projected backdrop and an almighty version of ‘One Way Or Another’ from their 1978 album ‘Parallel Lines’. Debbie Harry was in good voice and a very good mood and was genuinely thankful that everyone had weathered the storm and stayed for the show. When introducing the song ‘Fun’, the first of half a dozen from the forthcoming album ‘Pollinator’, Debbie talked about the band’s concerns for the environment and their efforts to help the preservation of the bees.
If new songs such as ‘Gravity’, ‘My Monster’ ‘A Rose By Any Name’ and ‘Long Time’ are anything to go by then ‘Pollinator’ is going to be their best work in years. Of course what the crowd wanted was the hits and the band didn’t disappoint. Original members Chris Stein and Clem Burke, who’s drumming was a highlight, along with Leigh Foxx on bass, Matt Katz-Bohen on keyboards and Tommy Kessler on lead guitar were an absolute powerhouse breathing new life into classics such as ‘Call Me’, ‘Atomic’, ‘In The Flesh’, a killer rendition of ‘Rapture’ that segued into the Beastie Boys classic ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’ and the set closer ‘Heart Of Glass’. After a brief time off stage Blondie returned for another classic crowd pleaser, the 1979 hit ‘Dreaming’.
Blondie – ‘One Way Or Another’
On this Australian tour Blondie and Cyndi Lauper have been alternating the headlining spot and tonight it was Cyndi’s turn. Like Blondie, Cyndi has a big back catalogue of hits and could have filled the set with nothing but familiar sing-along numbers however she too has a new album, ‘Detour’, and it is a collection of Cyndi’s favourite old country songs. Tonight she kicked off with one of these, ‘Funnel Of Love’, originally recorded by Wanda Jackson but didn’t skip a beat before launching into ‘She Bop’ and ‘I Drove All Night’. Cyndi is very active and theatrical on stage and uses props such as a rotating platform for the next song ‘The End Of The World’ another from the new album.
Cyndi is very talkative with her audience and we learn about her early love of country and rockabilly artists since her days with first band Blue Angel and are treated to the first of two Patsy Cline covers, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’. The mostly unfamiliar songs and a couple of false starts slowed down the set along with more talking about the need for more environmental awareness, particularly in the US where she said ”We are getting rid of science”. However, when the hits came the audience went wild singing their collective hearts and lungs out to ‘Money Changes Everything’, ‘Time After Time’ and the absolute showstopper, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ which we were told has been used for a campaign for woman’s rights as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights”. The encore saw Cyndi come out on her own to sing ‘True Colors’. It was a potent close to her set and to a day celebrating, in case you hadn’t noticed, some very talented women.
Cyndi Lauper – ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’
PHOTO CREDIT: Bruce Butler
A DAY ON THE GREEN
with Blondie and Cyndi Lauper
Wed April 12
Kings Park & Botanic Gardens, Perth WA
NB: Montaigne not playing Perth
Tickets available from ticketmaster.com.au or telephone: 136 100
Our sister music website, GIGBILL are hosting Carbie Warbie's colourful photographs of the day. Just simply click on the following links. There are over 120 colourful photographs of all of the artists.
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