Friday, 17 May 2013

The Monkey Men live at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne 17 February, 2013.

Minimal monkeying around, the Rolling Stones are serious stuff in Melbourne

I had been back in Australia for less than two days when Sunday the 17 of February, 2013 rolled around. This marked the 40th anniversary of the day that The Rolling Stones played the Kooyong Tennis Centre in Melbourne and the Melbourne music community wanted to make sure this moment in time was given the respect it was deserved.

Clearly this concert left a profound mark on the Melbourne music psyche as so many punters turned out to the Corner Hotel for these two shows (one matinee and one in the evening). A reenactment if you will, by an Australian ‘super group’ going by the name of “The Monkey Men” and fronted by none other than the Aussie rock icon that is Tim Rogers.

This Australia super group (and I will let you decide if they fit the super group mantel) was made up of Tim Rogers on lead vocals and Davey Lane on guitar (both of You Am I fame), Ash Naylor on guitar and Matthem Cotter belting the drums (both of Even fame). Stephen Hadley also on guitar (who has been sighted touring with Tex Perkins from time to time) and Bruce Haymes was playing the key’s (he has toured with Renee Gayer) also Jack Howard (of Hunters & Collectors) and Ben Marsland (who I was not familiar with) were on horns. And finally Eliza and Talei Wolfgramm on backing vocals, who both looked far too young to have been playing music in a band I would know.

By the time the band hit the stage the place was packed, and any thought of ducking back to the bar every 20 minutes for a beer was nonsensical and strangely this made me feel like I was home. Also there was a heat generating from the room, one that said to me JV you now know you are back in Australia in the middle of summer at a gig where you can feel the person next to you’s sweat.

From the very get go, Tim was in full Mick Jagger strut and he swaggered theatrically, elbow tucked in, hands flailing about and lips pursed. But surprisingly it didn’t feel like a cabaret act, more like a homage to the original performance, one that had be clearly felt in one way, shape or form by all the members of the 2013 band. Tim’s voice was pretty good and occasionally if he missed a note, one of the others would be there to chime in with a harmony just in time. To be honest all the band played their part and the previously unknown back up singers input in Gimme’ Shelter was perfect.

It didn’t take long for the joint to start jumping. It was a combination of some great Australian performers onstage and they were covering one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Not too mention they were playing one of the greatest concert sets of all time.

To that final point as I stood in the heat, draining my beer and listening, I was stunned at how good this set list was. So much so that I would question anyone to give me a better set list, by any band, any time. This may have been the greatest set list of songs ever performed.

So here it is;

1. Brown Sugar
2. Bitch
3. Rocks Off
4. Gimme Shelter
5. Happy
6. Tumbling Dice
7. Love In Vain
8. Sweet Virginia
9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
10. Honky Tonk Women
11. Down The Line
12. Midnight Rambler
13. Bye Bye Johnny
14. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
15. Street Fighting Man

I think by the time the band got to Jumpin’ Jack Flash I was in seventh heaven. They had given their all (for the second time in one day) and they had left no stone unturned. The performance was not without its flaws but that didn’t really matter on the day and truth be told Tim does look like he has lived a very good “Rock and Roll” life and I tip my hat to him for still giving his all.

After the band left the stage some of the crowd dissipated but a lot just hung around to chat about that performance and the good old days on the Melbourne music seen. There were also plenty of Melbourne Rock music identities there, not that I could name them for you, but needless to say there were several people I have seen on Rock Wiz or Spicks and Specks from time to time.

All up I was very thankful to have been able to be there for this version of the event, back on home soil in a very hot Corner Hotel, watching some Aussie rock icons ply their trade and pay homage to such a musical landmark!!


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