Midnight Oil, Bad//Dreems @ Brixton Academy, London 13/6/2019

One thing about a Midnight Oil show is you’ll never go away feeling unfulfilled, but you will go home with a hoarse voice! Peter Garrett and his gang put on an electrifying show in one of London’s most prestigious venues, the Brixton Academy. But before they hit the stage, Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems nicely warmed up the crowd. Quite well known on Australian shores but basically unknown on English soil, the five piece put their heart and soul into this performance with singer, Ben Marwe, bounding around the stage like it was their headline show. They played a quick fire thirty minute set with a handful of crowd jumping along and concluded with a rousing version of Mob Rule.

After the obligatory thirty minute wait, the five Midnight Oil silhouettes crept on stage to a huge roar. Evidence that the band are much loved globally and were much missed during their recent fifteen year hiatus. No time for hellos, the band starts jamming and the soon the crowd realises it’s the opening chords to The Dead Heart and, as if at a soccer game, start chanting the opening “do do do’s” before the band kick into the meat of the track.

After quick rant about politics – there were a few of these – they kick into Don’t Wanna Be The One from their underrated Place Without A Postcard album from 1981. Its sounds just as powerful in 2019. That’s the thing about their songs, they don’t sound dated. They all contain messages still relevant to today.

The Power And The Passion was played surprisingly early but the crowd weren’t disappointed as they have a plethora of hits in their bag. Drummer, Ron Hurst, displaying his drumming skills by hitting his kit so hard its amazing it didn’t topple over. even a mini rainwater tank strategically placed next to him.

During Truganini Garrett brought attention to the huge back drop behind the band. It’s a giant Aboriginal flag. The band have always been advocates for the Aboriginal people and as he mentioned during the show, “We aren’t speaking for them, we are speaking with them”.

A couple more crowd pleasers, Stars Of Warburton and King Of The Mountain, before a semi acoustic session as the band move to the front of the stage. My Country, US Forces and Short Memory were still powerful even though not they sounded dramatically different to the album versions. All were piano heavy and were interesting takes with Jim Moginie putting his heart and soul into some powerful piano playing.

Things returned to normal with Kosciusko. Garrett danced around the stage only the way he can. During Only The Strong – highlight of the night by the way – he did his best ghosting dancing; popping up behind his fellow band members when they least expected it. They finished the first set with a smatter of massive tracks – Redneck Wonderland, Blue Sky Mining, Beds Are Burning and a rip roaring version of Sometimes.

A quick refreshment break and they return for the first of two encores. Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers and Forgotten Years and a moving version of One Country concluded the show. This band has been around since the late 70’s and are just as energetic in 2019 as they were back then. There’s a rumour of the band recording new music, lets hope!

Live Review By Darren Leach

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