The Stems, Garden Path, The Trafalgars @ The Gov, Adelaide 11/11/2017

I have been waiting some ten years for The Stems to return to Adelaide and finally that moment happened together with local bands the Garden Path and legends The Trafalgars. Spoilt for choice in Adelaide with plenty of other shows going on no doubt affected numbers but still this show was brilliant. Such a great band with so many great songs that deserved success and all the spoils that come with that.

It was a grand return to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the classic debut album At First Sight Violets Are Blue after forming way back in 984. For me this is one of my all-time favourite albums and hearing it from start to end was an absolute thrill. The nucleus of the band of Dom Mariani, Julian Matthews and David Shaw is the same but joined by the legendary Ash Naylor (Even) and Davey Lane (You Am I).

The Trafalgars are always great and tonight was no exception. Favourites for me will always be London Taxi and the Neil Young cover Cinnamon Girl was a ripper. If there is ever a justification for a band to do something more regular it’s definitely The Trafalgars and we can only hope that the talk of an album comes to fruition.

Garden Path were good and reformed at the request of Dom Mariani having supported The Stems in Adelaide back in the day. Definitely another great band who should continue playing taking the crowd through a selection of songs from their three albums including In The Dark, Into The Clouds and Take It All Back.

The Stems were on next and holy shit batman they were fucking great. The band didn’t miss a beat and you would expect that from a class outfit. There was no surprises with the set list playing their classic album from start to end. The crowd danced, danced and danced right from the get go with the likes of At First Sight, Sad Girl and Rosebud getting the night underway. Dom made some opening remarks thanking everyone for coming and sorry it has been a while (well, 2007 Clash Of The Titans tour with the Hoodoo Gurus and Radio Birdman). He even apologised to the Crows supporters for losing the Grand Final.

With an album this brilliant there was no need for banter or to pad the set out with trivial conversation. The music did all the talking and these songs sound just as good now as they did on the record when they came out. Man With The Golden Heart, For Always, Move Me and Mr Misery were just outstanding. Davey Lane looking the part in a white pin stripe suit added voice to Otherside and is a mighty fine choice to join this band. With the album done the band played a selection of “old tunes” including Love Will Grow from 2007’s now out of print album Heads Up, Love Will Grow from Love Will Grow – Rosebud Volume 1 finishing on set closer with a Muddy Waters cover Make You Mine morphing in to Baby Please Don’t Go.

Returning for an encore featuring another tune from Heads Up called Get To Know Me and a tribute to George Young from The Easybeats who recently passed away. Dom said that George was the best one of the best songwriters in his book and that he didn’t give a shit about anyone else’s opinion. Honouring the memory of an absolute legend with Sorry was played with gusto, passion and intensity. Interestingly the set finished with a reprise of At First Sight and the hope that they will come back again. Retiring for the night the party continued will in to the night at The Grace Emily Hotel but that’s a story for another time.

Review by Rob Lyon

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