With a line-up of two of Australia’s most successful female fronted hard rock bands it was no surprise that The Gov had the ‘sold out’ signs up at the entrance. Killing Heidi were back in town as Ella put it “take you back to your days of teenage angst”, whilst the Baby Animals were here to raise the flag for the decadence of the 1990s.
Killing Heidi hit the stage first with Calm Down to what I must say was a rather subdued crowd. Its Friday people, it’s the weekend, the place is sold out and it’s Killing Heidi onstage – liven up a bit! The subdued audience response may have been in part due the constant murmurs of “Where’s Jesse?” emanating throughout the audience for the first few songs. Was this expected or pre-announced, or was it a late change beyond the control of all involved – I’m still yet to establish.
Never the less Ella Hooper, clad in a skin tight leopard skin bodysuit that wouldn’t look out of place at Eurovision, took total control of the stage rocking out just as hard as she did in Killing Heidi’s heyday. As she ploughed her way through a plethora of hard rock tracks, interspaced with the occasional ballad, Ella eventually won the crowd over. The Eurovision entry Data Dust was well received, as were some of the bands biggest hits such as Live Without It and Mascara.
In what was a surprising highlight, and a tribute that would have made Chrissy Amphlett proud, the band delivered a rendition of The Divinyls Boys In Town which at the very least showed there could be life yet in a Divinyls reboot should they make a call to Ella Hooper. The thirteen songs set was rounded off with Super Man / Super Girl and the eternal favourite Weir which had the crowd in full voice.
After the slightly extended break between bands, with a few technical difficulties appearing to be the culprit, the Baby Animals burst onto stage with the smash hit Early Warning. Suze DeMarchi sounding as powerful as ever had the crowd mesmerised. As with the first set, it was once again taking the sold out crowd a bit of time to warm up. An audience singalong to the classic Painless finally managed to draw them all in, and even though as Suze herself explained “I’ve got the flu, maybe I’ll sweat it out” she still managed to deliver a near-faultless performance.
Crowd engagement seemed to drift in and out for much of the evening. I felt a little bad, as for all the effort an ill Suze was giving onstage the crowd were not seeming to give as much back apart from the obvious hits such as One Word and Rush You. These were the songs that took Baby Animals to the big time, and rightly were the tracks that received the biggest response and formed the back end of the main set.
After a brief break, the band returned to the stage with the bluesy Impossible To Fly and finished off the sixteen song set with the first-thumping anthem Ain’t Gonna Get which once again had the crowd fully engaged.
Both bands, and especially the two amazing front-women, showed that they have still got it, but as Ella Hooper questioned… where is the next generation of Australian female rock singers who are going to step up to take their mantle? Or more precisely, if they are out there are Australian audiences willing to give them a go?
Live Review By Sarah Bulach