The Beasts, The Johnnys @ The Gov, Adelaide 17/3/2019

Who says you can’t rock out on a Sunday night! With Mad March wrapping up the focus was on this hot ‘lil gig at The Gov featuring The Beasts supported by The Johnnys.

It is amazing how things start. After an extremely emotional final performance with the Beasts of Bourbon, Tex Perkins hit upon the idea of getting all of the band’s members, past and present into a recording studio with no particular agenda other than to do just that. From that session spawned an album and a tour featuring Kim Salmon, Tony Pola, Boris Sujdavic, Charlie Owen and the great man himself Tex Perkins. I think kudos all round for the way this came about shortening the name to The Beasts creating a new identity but still paying homage to their rich musical history and paying tribute to Brian Hooper and Spencer P Jones who are no longer with us.

There was something quite special and celebratory about this gig and even Perkins remarked during the show that regardless of which band or what show there is always something about Adelaide that makes it a great one. It was full throttle right from the outset with On My Back and Pearls Of Swine from the new album The Beasts Still Here. It’s classic pub rock at its finest in amongst of haze of red and blue lights.

Low Road, Bad Revisited were rock solid and new tune Just Let Go was great. Perkins quipped that any good band from Perth would features James Baker in it and perhaps Drunk On A Train would be more successful if sung by young men. The next part of the set was a collection of songs that Perkins described as being “from artists weren’t ready to let go of”. There was Warren Zevon’s My Shit’s Fucked Up, Brian Hooper’s What The Hell Was I Thinking, Charlie Owen and Ian Rilen’s Saturated. All great moments but the pick of the bunch for me was as Perkins described from the last time in a recording session, Spencer P Jones left them one song only he could At The Hospital. A touch of emotion, a touch of nostalgia I thought it was really done.

Perkins asked Salmon to bring some swamp, some funk, some jazz, some fusion to Just Right. Tony Pola requested that tonight would be the last time they played Chase The Dragon to which Perkins described as one of their most irresponsible songs. There was a bit of banter preceding Your Honour with their songs being allegedly crimes against musical decency. Kim Salmon’s Drop Out was an awesome finish to the main set.

Returning for an encore it was Hope You Find Your Way Before Heaven which was followed by the smoke machine being turned up full bore. One could quite easily take the literal meaning of the next song The Torture Never Stops (Frank Zappa) as The Gov filled with a smoky haze of green and red lights. Perkins was glad that the “whole thing” ended here in Adelaide saying “Adelaide! I am so glad that this is where the tour finishes. You always are a great audience for everything I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you” finishing with It’s All Lies and one of Spencer P Jones songs Execution Day.

It would be remiss not to say anything any the legendary support The Johnnys. Another of Spencer P Jones pre-Beasts combos, they were cowboy shirt wearin’, rootin’ tootin’ cowboy punk, that had more in common with the Citadel bands of the mid ’80s, like The Stems, Lime Spiders and Hoodoo Gurus. It’s been 25 or 30 years since they last played Adelaide and the faithful are happy to have them back. Spencer was the main singer and guitar player in The Johnnys, and they haven’t attempted to replace him but it does mean the whole band is doing their own parts and his too. The cowboy shirts and stetsons are still in attendance and so are the songs Elvisly Yours, Indian Joe, their cover of Cliff Richard’s Move It, There’s Gonna Be a Showdown, Bleedin’ Heart, Way of The West.


Live Review By Rob Lyon

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