[LIVE REVIEW] Ugly Kid Joe w/ Special Guests @ Croxton Hotel, Thornbury 9/11/2017

Celebrating the silver anniversary of America’s Least Wanted, Ugly Kid Joe are back in Australia to deliver the iconic album in its entirety. Add to that the hits of their extensive back catalogue and we are in for two hours of rock at it’s sweaty best.

Filling the number one slot of the evening was Tim McMillan on acoustic guitar and Rachel Snow on the violin.  While these two did seem quite mismatched, their instruments lent to each other perfectly and they gave a thirty minute set of crazy covers and mash ups together with some original works. As it turned out Tim, as well as being an extremely talented guitar player was quite the storyteller and had the punters in stitches with his wild tales and ‘colourful’ language. It isn’t everyday you hear Slayer’s Into The Abyss being smashed out on the violin and acoustic guitar, a nice warm up indeed.

Melbourne’s own Dallas Frasca were next on the bill, giving us an hour of everything they had, this balls and all rock band left nothing in the tank and were the perfect warm up for the main attraction. Left handed guitarist Jeff Curran was killer and interestingly enough still strings his guitar as if right handed. But whatever way he had it strung he sounded awesome. With no bass in the band the drums were heavily relied on which worked really well and gave a terrific depth to their sound. Dallas, rock chick extraordinaire, puts her heart and soul in her sound, even venturing to the crowd for a song to hug her parents and get up close with the fans. I couldn’t resist a sneaky high five as she passed me on her way back to the stage. They had a large following of their own happily singingly along to all their songs and I definitely recommend getting out and seeing these guys, they rock!!

The Croxton erupted as Ugly Kid Joe exploded onto the stage opening with massive hit Neighbour, still looking and sounding as they did 25 years ago it is hard to believe a day has passed. Wearing only his underwear Zac Morris was an absolute machine on the drums, and while he certainly resembled Jesus I don’t think the holy man himself would be shaking his bootie quite the way Zac did.  Panhandlin’ Prince, Come Tomorrow and No One Survives all sensational, Whitfield showing he is such an ever present front man who delivers song after song. So Damn Cool was dedicated to us, the Melbourne crowd, and didn’t we love it!  Cats in the Cradle took it down a notch and gave us time to cool our heels and catch our breath.  It was perfectly fitted into the set list to give the ebbs and flows that make a gig great, clearly they are masters at what they do.

Bass player Cordell Crockett worked the stage tirelessly, as did Dave Fortman on guitar. Not a worry if you skipped the gym today, you got a full session with Whit as your trainer, arms up, spirit fingers, arms side to side, clap on 2, clap on 4, jump on the spot, phew! what a workout,  punter participation at its finest.  The lights dropped and the stage turned red and we knew it could only be Godamn Devil, followed by the second left-hander of the night Klaus Eichstadt singing Mr Recordman.  It was about now that guitar tech Soldier gave us a solo at Whit’s request and Tim McMillan revisited the stage for a quick number, giving the boys a minute to refresh before the home stretch.

Our screaming determined how many more songs we got, fortunately for us we yelled enough for four more songs. With that Dallas Frasca busted back on the stage to smash out an awesome tribute to the late Malcolm Young with the two bands performing a blistering rendition of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. This nearly tore the roof off The Croxton and the fans went into meltdown as Ace of Spades rang out next.  Funky Fresh was a great edition but they were saving the best for last with Everything About You sending the fans into full cardiac arrest. When Whit said ‘lets got crazy’ they didn’t disappoint and I held on for dear life as I rode the wave of sweaty followers as they surged forward. An epic finale for the final leg of the Australian tour, in the home of live music, Melbourne. Whit professed his love for our beautiful city calling it his second home, so when you are out and about look out for him, chances are he might just be your funky neighbor!

Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale