Hotter Than Hell @ Coopers Alehouse, Gepps Cross 4/2/2018

Aussie rock royalty, a stacked bill, cracker 32 degree Saturday afternoon and at the home of Coopers… winning on all fronts!! Since the death of Soundwave the Adelaide rock scene has been crying out for a replacement and so it’s little wonder that Hotter than Hell sold out in minutes and has been the hottest ticket in town for months. Could the mini-festival/extended bill be the way of the future? Well if the line-up continues to be this strong and they don’t expect to sell a billion tickets then there is no reason this concept can’t be successful for years to come.

The Adelaide iteration included rock favourites Grinspoon, The Superjesus, 28 Days and Rackett and when combined with the other bands playing across the country (including Eskimo Joe, Jebadiah, Frenzal Rhomb and Bodyjar) it reads more like a best of Homebake Festival or a classic 90’s JJJ hottest 100.

The venue, located in the Coopers Alehouse carpark, was decked out with astro-turf, bars, food trucks and was actually much bigger than I was anticipating and looked more like a trendy fringe pop-up than a rock venue. And even though it was hot and along one of the busiest roads in Adelaide, there was plenty of shade for the punters to retreat to and the sound was great drowning out any traffic noise.

Kicking off the show was the Sydney female pop-punk outfit Rackett. Perhaps the odd one out on very nostalgic bill, but the girls rocked hard, much harder than their pop-punk bio suggests. It was HOT in front of the stage and most of the early crowd were seeking shade, but the girls quickly had the punters paying attention. Bec upfront owned it, dressed like she could be going to a goth rave, but had a rock strut to rival Mick Jagger. The highlight of the set was the sing-along generated by their cover of Audioslave’s Cochise.

Not surprising on a hot day and at the home of Coopers that the amber ale was flowing and there was a real festival atmosphere. An early start for a gig, but the punters were out in force and everyone was ready to get their rock on!!

Next up was 28 Days, and the trip down memory lane began. I remember seeing these guys play at the Crown Hotel, Victor Harbour circa 2000 and the floor was moving like a wave, and not because of the state I was in… but I digress. “Hi we are 28 Days, we are from your awesome drug infested past”, the boys hit the stage running and ripped straight into Sucker which got anyone milling at the bar or hiding in the shade heading to the stage and really set the bar for what was about to come. The energy on stage was high and the crowd responded accordingly.

Jay up front was in fine form, joking that he was the only singer on the bill not in the American Idiot musical and despite Jedi Master Jay not playing they still delivered their trademark hip-hop-punk sound, in fact without the decks they probably just sounded a bit heavier, which was cool. 28 Days were almost the highlight of the day, their hit-full set was brilliant and the crowd was crazy. Beer and Cocaine, Goodbye, Say What were all brilliant and the set was finished, following the pouring out of a beer for original drummer Scott, with Rip it Up. A 21st birthday show coming up with The Hot Lies was promised and will be something to keep an eye out for.

Then it was time for Adelaide’s own The Superjesus. Whilst Sarah McLeod solo shows have been a regular occurrence, The Superjesus shows have been few and far between since the bands hiatus in 2004 and reform in 2013. The Superjesus really are one of Adelaide’s greatest music exports, right up there with The Mark of Cain, Hilltop Hoods and Jimmy Barnes (if we can count him), so to see them in full gig mode was a real treat. All these songs that you haven’t heard for years and yet somehow you know every word. The crowd were in fine voice, but saved their best for the final stand including a cover of Kylie Minogue’s Confide in Me, Down Again and their swansong Gravity.

Fresh of their sold out arena shows playing their classic Guide to a Better Living album and Phil on the back of his Adelaide run of American Idiot shows, seeing Grinspoon at the Coopers Alehouse promised to be an absolute treat. It brought back memories of their LeRox (Bridgeway Hotel) show in the early 2000’s and I remember thinking I’ll never see them play such a venue again, but only fifteen or so years later and here we are, well almost… the car park is a bit bigger. I fucken love Grinners, I’ve seen them 100’s of times over the years and their form at the moment is as good as it’s ever been!! They are super tight and Phil’s striking his trade-mark poses with as much swagger as he did in the 90’s.

Opening the set with Run (I think it’s a pre-requisite for Aussie/NZ bands to have a song called Run, fortunately they are all good), they then turned it old-school with a set stacked full of Guide to a Better Living crackers. The moshpit was large, fierce and shouting every word and the run of Boundary, Rail Rider, Just Ace, Pedestrian culminating with PEA had it going off and left gasping for breath. The main set was finished with everyone’s favourite Champion and a cover of INXS’s Don’t Change which again prompted a mass sing-along. Phil returned to the stage after a short break armed with his acoustic guitar and delivered a stirring rendition of Better off Alone, before being joined by Pat, Joe and Kris to throw down a furious triple punch of Sweet as Sugar, 1000 Miles and More Than You Are to finish the night. The boys thanked the crowd, took a bow and left the building.

A brilliant end to a brilliant day. There will be hangovers and ear ringing a plenty today, but totally worth it!! The only way the day could have been topped was if Frenzal and Bodyjar were on the bill also… maybe next time. Come again soon Hotter Than Hell!!

Review by Tim Nicholas


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