The Drum Media
by Allison O’Donoghue
Apologies to the other fine bands playing tonight, I missed all but the last two songs of The Blackeyed Susans. MC for the night was the ABC’s Adam Spencer of Quantum and Triple J, who hyped the punters for the arrival of The Whitlams on stage. No need, we all knew why we were there.
There’s no aphrodisiac like a top 10 album, two sold out shows at the Metro two weeks in advance and capturing the youth markets heart, not to mention a brilliant publicity machine. The Whitlams were flying tonight and so they should be. It’s taken them a bloody long time to get some recognition and their album Eternal Nightcap has done it for them. Freedman was visibly buffed by the head count and bantered often with the very attentive crowd. An adept frontman. The first song on the agenda was soon to be released second single, Melbourne, which is sure to be another hit, as it’s got all the right elements of a boppy melody and interesting lyrics. And that’s the thing about The Whitlams…the lyrics.
A lot of the songs are about their mates, or Freedman’s mates, one of which Louis, who was in the audience, was well received by the punters singing in unison with Tim. What a treat. You know you’ve made it when the crowd know the lyrics, word for word. I admit, I’m not that familiar with the album, apart from the much played No Aphrodisiac, which of course was given a rousing response from the crowd and to be totally honest, doesn’t do a thing for me. Gasp!! I know, how dare I. Having said that, numbers like Gough and Woody from their first album Introducing…actually do, do something for me. I’m very partial to the earlier Whitlams, of which Tim attributed to the late Stevie Plunder, who of course cannot be forgotten.
A number of songs from their third album, Eternal Nightcap, like Buy Now Pay Later remind me what I like about these guys. They sing songs about now and what is relevant, no matter how dark the subject matter they manage to make it light. Three members of FourPlay accompanied The Whitlams on many songs, also the excellent horn section with sax and trumpet.
But the highlight for me was the indefinable talents of Chris Abrahams on organ which had my ears pegged left to hear his deft brilliance, enhancing every song.
The many encores were great. Tim Hall, ex-Whitlams man himself, did an incredible version of Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up in Blue. It was seriously sensational, so much so I wanted to hear it again. The Whitlams gave Elton John a nod with a very witty Dodi at the Ritz aka Benny and the Jets. Risque but I’m sure we’re all over the Di death scenario by now.
The Whitlams played a tight set tonight and obviously pleased a great many people. I still have to listen to the album more fully to get the whole hype thang, although live The Whitlams are definitely happening. Here’s all the success to them.