A bracing Melbourne evening awaits those venturing out to The Corner Hotel to see the globally respected and widely revered icon of rock, Cherie Currie herself.
As we are warmed from the chill and with the formalities of Q&A out of the way, we are met by rocking trio Wild Violet to open the evening’s proceedings. Fitting the bill of an evening celebrating our homogametic hero of rock and roll, Wild Violet are a striking all-female ensemble, attractive in appearance but malevolent in rocking intent. No holds barred here as the group burst into Death By Love with ferocious resolve. Angelica Zahra on guitar and vocals keeps those assembled mesmerised with her performance, while our rhythmic Rapunzel, Jacinta Jaye manages to pound thunder from her Thunderbird bass and delivers an animated performance that leaves the observer in bewildered awe. How she can keep all that hair rocking in time with the music without getting it caught in the keys is quite astonishing. Niyoosha Roberts at the kit bonds all, together in time as the group blast through Prima Donna, Haunted War and a cover of NIB (Black Sabbath) all finished with a rocking P.L.P., generously sprinkled with punk vocal overtones.
The crowd surge further forward as Tequila Mockingbyrd take charge of the warm up. Punching straight into I Smell Rock And Roll from their recently released album Fight And Flight, I am blissfully pleased to hear the expletives of delight fly forth from the assembled T-Byrd virgins amongst us. I shall never become weary of observing people’s reactions upon their first encounter with Tequila Mockinbyrd performing live. Mouths agape, enchanted whilst astounded by the gargantuan sound achieved by but three. Estelle Artois delivers a master class in vocal prowess coupled with shredding skill throughout the entire performance. Jess Reily’s animation and skill need to be seen to be believed as she provides backing vocals and the bass to utter perfection. And of course, the same is true of the percussive powder keg that is Josie O’Toole. In typical style, Josie launches herself literally from the drum stool and reminds the kit of exactly who is the boss. I should be used to it by now, but I am never quite prepared for how astonishingly exceptional Tequila Mockingbyrd are, and I find myself as breathless and spent as the first time I bore witness to their rocking talent. A fantastic rendition of Shut Me Down followed by a thoroughly sensational, and perfectly delivered T-Byrds branded cover of Somebody Put Something In My Drink (Ramones), increases the heat and brings new meaning to ‘warming up a room’. Never Go Home completes the set in sensational style and I’m supremely confident that all present were left wanting for more. The ensuing stage front conversations left me in no doubt that Tequila Mockingbyrd just expanded their fan base by more than a few more, and only after a handful of their offerings.
But following months of eager anticipation, the wait is finally at an end. Cherie Currie is here live and loud and the culmination of rock and roll account brings one’s breath to a shortened series of shallow gulps. Such an incredible person of strength, determination and music legend provides this performance, for the very first time in Melbourne, its own inherent magic. And that’s exactly what we were all witness to. American Nights brings all of this history home the crowd shout back the lyrics and Cherie shares the mic with us in reply. The hectic travelling schedule has done nothing to impact upon her splendid vocal delivery. To watch her perform, with the knowledge of all she has endured and survived in graceful style, is surreal to a point almost inexplicable. And she is just beautiful in so many ways, not least of which is her fond acknowledgement of the adoration from the crowd. With the bewilderment held at bay momentarily, one has an opportunity to absorb the superb guitar skill of Danny Raygun, providing riffage in the finest form. Those who know Danny would be cognisant of the fact that he is a musical all-rounder, and despite providing backing vocals on this occasion, allows his vocal prowess to shine. Tommy Wagner at the kit was thoroughly sensational, and being an admirer of Shameless it was an absolute treat to see him performing live in Australia. The same is true of Alexx Michael for the same reason, and he truly breathed rhythmic life into the music. Thank you Skunk. This Teutonic trio just fit so tremendously well with Cherie and her music, thereby compounding the excitement during the entire experience.
Cherie is without a shadow of a doubt, the consummate professional performer with the remarkable ability to connect with a crowd by way of direct engagement. Cherie, I very much doubt you misplaced that verse and instead utilised this opportunity to bond with us further and increase our collective adoration and appreciation of your presence. The tribute delivered by Cherie to Suzie Quatro was actually very moving and the crowd celebration of Rock n Roll Rosie provided credence to my firm belief that all present understood the reference. Just sensational. Thanks to Cherie’s continuous engagement with the room, the entire show felt extremely intimate and personal for the individual. A rare and satisfying experience to feel as though she is sharing her splendid talent just with you. Tracks like Roxy Roller and Queens Of Noize literally lifted the venue from its foundations with exuberant celebration and vocal participation.
To hear Believe performed by Cherie was an extremely moving highlight of the evening. More were certainly to follow, however understanding the nature and meaning of this track, along with the realisation that so many have used it and Cherie as inspiration, is almost haunting. And she delivered the track just as beautifully as I could have ever hoped to hear. We never heard David Bowie perform Lady Grinning Soul live and sadly now, we never will which made the delivery from Cherie all the more touching and profoundly exceptional. Naturally, the same poignant description can be afforded to Rebel Rebel, which appeared on The Runaways movie soundtrack. The fact that Cherie was delivering the track right before us was vastly significant and memorable. I’m supremely confident that readers who did not have the tremendous good fortune to attend this show, will be satisfied that a suitable reply to Cherie was delivered with Do You Love Me. Lastly, unfortunately all too soon, we were blessed with the one and only, the timeless rock classic in Cherry Bomb. A fulsome and fantastic set list was delivered, but with a show like this, it’s over all too soon. The entire performance was the stuff of legend. One that will be remembered for the remainder of my days and I, for one, cannot thank all involved with an opportunity to see this wonderful performer, and icon of rock live and in person accompanied by the perfect band.
Following opportunities to interview this magnificent person coupled with a chance to meet her for the first time, I can safely say that I am as inspired as any who have shared in the privilege. Cherie is an astounding performer and tremendous human being who rightfully remains a beacon of inspiration to so many. Personally, professionally and historically, she embodies so much of what we all aspire to achieve. With a few upcoming additional shows announced, I cannot encourage people enough to seize this rare opportunity to revel in rock history with the lady herself, Cherie Currie.