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~ by TONY CATTERALL:
Avers Rock: a world-class band
WrfcFF the tecord, Ayers ^ Rock 14 the largest
lock in the Southern Hem isphere. On the record, Ayers Rock is one of the most . musically-advanced bands in Australia. On the road, Ayers Rock will be the ultimate in dynamic live performance".
So said a publicity hand out that came with my tick, ets to the Ayers Rock con cert at the Canberra Theatre on Wednesday night; and for once there's some truth
in advertising. They're not the ultimate in dynamic live performance, but let's not quibble.
All. that I can criticise in the entire show is the length of the main act (not much more than an hour) and
some rather sloppy lighting (such as spotlighting some one other than the . soloist).
The music ? Well, that was superb. Concentrating on numbers from their -coming album (which should be released next month) Chris Brown, Col Loughlan, James Doyle, Duncan McGuire, and Mark Kennedy showed an improvement over even 'Big Red Rock', their year-old
debut, and exuded the con fidence riven by a highly successful US tour.
With every instrument crystal clear the show made it obvious that individually
and collectively there's nothing that's not world class about Ayers Rock. The staring, soaring, twist ing guitar solos of Brown and Doyle were a joy to listen' to; Loughlan's per formance. on tenor, barilone and electric soprano sax, electric flute and keyboards was breathtaking in its in tensity; McGuire's bass was always rock,-solid but ready to fly at a moment's notice; and Kennedy's drumming was shattering in its
But nowhere was there a trace of ego-tripping; no solo was a note longer than it should have been and the whole band was one of the
tightest units I've yet seen
at a concert.
In fact Wednesday night will go down in my books a* being the best show I've been to in the Canberra Theatie. ,
A big part in makini it such a success was the per formance of those manic twits. Split Enz, whose album, you may recall, didn't impress me. Live they're something else.
With an irresistible and irrepressible set that was neither too short nor too long they had the audience stunned right from the opening bars of the New Zealand national anthem (a
turzid dirge called 'God Defend New Zealand') and kept it up with a perform ance that was as much theatre (of the insane) as it was music..
And hearing the music and those lunatic lyrics and vocals in their proper con text made it the more accessible and hilariously enjoyable. The two com ments most heard during interval were, "They could play here as the headlines and pack the place" and, "They'll be a hard act: lo follow".
The second comment was true and I hope the.first one will be.