richard burgman - The I-94 Bar
Ed Kuepper leads his Aints! through their final show for a while.
The Flaming Hands
Paddington RSL, Sydney
Saturday, August 31 2019
It could have been an exercise in nostalgia for its own sake. It was anything but.
On paper, a bunch of bands digging into their own back pages is a fraught exercise. Things can never be what they once were; voices age and players who were at one time singularly focused on the musical here and now inevitably drift on or find new interests. Some pass on. Others fall out with each other.
Each of these bands come from a special time and a place that can’t be re-captured. Each was leaning, to some degree, on their back catalogues tonight. All were doing their best to be true to their own legacy without getting hung up on it.
40 - Sunnyboys (Rocket)
New Sunnyboys studio recordings: They were long rumoured, but what they constituted and whether they’d see the light of day remained well-kept secrets. Now they’re here, they prove to have been worth the wait.
There’s no need to recount the rise, fall and reincarnation of the Sunnyboys here. Let’s make the point that their second career is on a vastly different trajectory to their first. The pressure of being a major label money-maker on an endless treadmill is gone. Jeremy Oxley's health is good but he still needs to manage himself. It’s a measured gait for these Sunnies in 2019 - at least until they walk onto a stage - as befits four gentlemen of, ahem, enduring existence.
Just like riugby league, the “40” record - a mini-LP, really, as it’s eight tracks long - is a game of two halves. Side one comprises the four songs released on the band’s self-titled “yellow” seven-inch EP on New Year’s Eve in 1980. The original vinyl version sold out in a couple of weeks, to be re-pressed in a re-mixed 12” version soon after, but this is the first time that the original mixes have made it to CD.
They really are unstoppable and they shouldn’t be. Not at this stage of the game. Their goals might be modest - to have a good time reprising their own past, in the hope that you will too - but that doesn’t underplay how good the reincarnated Sunnyboys are on “Best Seat In The House”.
It’s officially their second live album but really their third (1993’s rough and ready “Shakin’” on Phantom seems to have been disowned) and it perfectly captures the band in all their pop-rock glory, playing the final gig on a mostly sold-out Australian run in March 2015.