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A rocking night of world-class Adelaide music


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Enrico Mick Morena and his hardworking Adelaide Music Collective team put together a great gig on the weekend for the second in a series of six showcase performances and Hall Of Fame inductions.  The Goodwood Institute was sold out and the venerable old theatre was rocking – probably a lot like it did in the days when it hosted the Oxford Club back in the distant ’60s.

After a brief welcome, Morena handed over to the host for the evening, veteran comedy legend Dave Flanagan, who did a fine job keeping the audience chuckling and chortling away while skilfully introducing the main performances.

First up was Riverland-born Kelly Menhennett, the pint-sized songstress with the big voice, ably assisted by accordionist Richard Coates.  Her voice soared emotively with a smooth yet rootsy edge and powerfully drove this fine collection of original tunes.  It was amazing how big the arrangements seemed, considering only two acoustic instruments were involved.

A former winemaker, Menhennett’s move a few years ago to full-time music was clearly a very wise decision. It’s great to hear songs with South Australian locations and names in the lyrics.

Next up was the vibrant, dynamic roots act The Timbers, who commanded the stage like a band of demented hillbilly bushrangers.  Their rollicking, powerful rhythms are created with acoustic guitars, mandolin, bass drum, tambourine, trumpet and keyboard, topped nicely with bang-on four-part harmonies and a dash of humour.

These AMC showcases remind us that Adelaide need never have any inferiority complex when it comes to the calibre of the live and recording acts available here.

During an instrument change, the trumpet-playing Timber said: “They’re all changing instruments; I’m useless so I’ll just adjust this microphone cable!”  Far from being useless, that trumpet provided the melodic relief on top of the organised rhythmic mayhem that is the basis of the sound, to great effect.

At this point, with two world-class Adelaide acts having already been on stage, the enthusiastic audience was having a ball. These AMC showcases remind us (if we need it) that Adelaide need never have any inferiority complex when it comes to the calibre of the live and recording acts available here.

During a 20-minute interval, the stage was transformed into a living room for the Hall Of Fame inductee interviews with a selection of Adelaide legends, anchored by the radio great David “Daisy” Day.

Barry McAskill – of The Drifters, The Clefs, and Levi Smith Clefs fame – certainly needed no coaxing to open up with stories of his colourful past. John Schumann (Redgum) spoke of school days, growing up in Adelaide and the iconic songs for which he is so deservedly revered. The gentlemanly elder statesman, Ray O’Connor from the legendary Penny Rockets, arguably paved the way for everybody else present, such was the mighty influence of his 1950s then-biggest rock band in Adelaide.

Rockin’ Rob Riley, the guitar legend perhaps most famous for his Rose Tattoo days, added the bawdy touch.  When it was originally suggested he move to Adelaide, he asked: “Why? I’m not gonna pull a root there.”  You have to love the candour of rock legends!

The status of John and Rick Brewster of The Angels barely needs elaborating, but their contribution to putting Adelaide music onto the world stage made them obvious candidates for the Hall of Fame.  If anyone was still labouring under the illusion that there was a lingering feud between the brothers and ailing former frontman Doc Neeson, this was thankfully pretty much put to rest at these proceedings.

Barry McAskill and his wife and son performed with some backing rhythm tracks that should have probably been replaced by live bass and drums.  Nevertheless, the old fella still has the charisma of a great frontman, not to mention the leopard skin suit.

Then it was grand finale time, with John and Rick Brewster, joined by John’s son Sam on bass and our host Enrico Mick Morena on drums.  A dazzling display of guitar playing followed, as Rick Brewster dragged out every sound and effect you could possibly coax from an electric guitar, with brother John faultless on concert-sized acoustic and vocals.  A selection of older hits and newer tunes provided a fitting finale to a really excellent night of South Australian musical talent.

Make sure you book early when the next Adelaide Music Collective showcase line-up is officially announced for July, because it will sell out.

Kelly Menhennett will be playing at The Promethean in Adelaide on May 31 to launch her second album, Small Dreams. The Timbers launched their debut album, Lawless, this month.







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