It was a brisk Friday night, but that didn’t stop the waves of denim, flannelette and Jack Daniels flowing through the doors at 170 Russell. Onlookers walking past could be heard asking “What was the occasion”, and the answer? The Screaming Jets! This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Aussie rock band from Newcastle and what better way to celebrate than a Dirty 30 Tour. If you had asked Dave Gleeson if they would be still going today, he would have laughed at you. But rest assured 30 years has done wonders for them, as they have aged like a fine wine. But enough of that, and onto the procession of the night.
Opening the onslaught of Aussie rock was The Poor. Now I hadn’t had the pleasure of listening to these guys before, and little did I know that they had been around for such a long time either! Formed in 1986 in the Northern Territory, these seasoned rockers had a plethora of fans that swamped the barricade, and from this, I knew that it was going to be a good set. Opening with the song Easy Money, it was all energy from the get-go. Vocalist Anthony Skene was incredible with the crowd, getting everyone pumped up, and you could see that they were all so happy to be playing to the quite large crowd. Skenie jumped down to the barrier quite a few times to get intimate with the front row punters which was a really good touch to the already engaging performance, and then later on crowd surfed onto the floor where he proceeded to run amuck. Some other great songs on the set list included Tell Someone Who Cares, More Wine Waiter Please, and last but not least the fan favourite Poison. From start to finish The Poor was a high energy unit, and with the addition of new guitarist Daniel Cox, who absolutely shredded, the crowd loved it!
With a short break, it was starting to get smoky, lights were getting dimmer, and the music was getting louder. None other than Boom Crash Opera were to take the stage next. The crowd seemed a little unsure to begin with, but when the intro to Hands Up started everyone did exactly that, hands up! Lead vocalist Andrew De Silva was really solid with his singing, and did justice to the favourites, alongside guitarist Peter Farnan and bass player John Favaro who have to be commended on their super tight vocal harmonies. There were some extravagant solos from Farnan on guitar, which involved him singing into his pickups. He then jumped onto the barrier and let a fan try the same thing, which unfortunately didn’t go to plan and there were some technical difficulties to say the least, and as the saying goes it should be “Left to the professionals”! It was great to hear so many classic Boom Crash songs in the set alongside some newer songs, and some more funky tunes such as Latest Shuffle, Dancing in the Storm, Best Thing, and Onion Skin which they ended their performance with. By the end, everyone was extremely excited for what was next to come and showed gratitude towards Boom Crash Opera for playing a great selection of songs.
Now, the moment we had all been waiting for was so close to us we could taste it in the air. Fans were pushing forward towards the front of the stage and you could sure feel the anticipation of the loyal legions who had been waiting so patiently building. The lights went down and one by one they entered the stage. The roar from the crowd was deafening as Dreaming On began, and what a way to start the muchly anticipated set. Speaking of the set list, as 30 years have passed there is an abundance of awesome material to choose from, and the extensive list of songs catered for every fan at the show. Some of the best songs of the night included C’mon, Helping Hand, Sister Tease, and the list goes on and on, but we would be here all day! The Screaming Jets surely are a band that aims to please, and that they did! The professionalism in their playing, the stagecraft and just the way they don’t give a shit about anything really made the night. Their take no shit attitude really comes across on stage, and you can see that they are having so much fun. Dave Gleeson for one was having an extremely fun time using an extra microphone to.. well.. have fun with I guess you could say. Throughout the night there was a slideshow put together by guitarist Scott Kingman, which was a compilation of photos and videos from the 30 years they had been together, and there sure were some interesting photos that made for a few laughs. After Sister Tease, the band left the stage, but bass player Paul Woseen remained, where he then played an acoustic rendition of Friend of Mine. The crowd was passionately singing along with him, and it was a great break from the constant fast pace energy. After Woseen concluded Friend of Mine, the rest of the guys came back out to do a full band acoustic section, where they sat on stools and played Protest Song, Shivers, and October Grey. During these songs, the band really connected with the crowd, and there was a lot of back and forth singing and the noise that was coming from both sides was something special. Now, Dave Gleeson is one for controversy as we all know, and with the recent election, there was some particular words said about a certain politician who is known as Clive Palmer. Now I can only think of one song that could be played after this, and of course, that was FRC (and if you didn’t know what that stood for then you were going to find out). During the song, the band had the whole crowd singing “Fat Rich C**t” and all of a sudden I felt like I was in the most Australian place I’ve ever been, as there was so much unity at this point between all. To end the night in good fashion, the hit single Better was played for us, and after the previous onslaught of FRC, we were ready to let out all our emotions, and when the end of Better came, there wasn’t one person that was standing still!
The Dirty 30 tour came to a close at just over midnight, and even with sore backs and aching feet, the crowd still loved every minute of it, and It’s safe to say that The Screaming jets really were on fire!
Review Contributed by Jaidyn Hale