The last time I saw The SuperJesus live was when they were given the fantastic opportunity to open for Kiss at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre last year. Although they did nail that performance and were a great warm-up act on that particular night, any band going on before a huge Kiss show are going to be somewhat dwarfed by what was to follow on the stage.
I was certainly keen to see The SuperJesus again but was looking forward to seeing them in a more intimate hometown setting, in a room full of people who were specifically there to see them.
Not only was this gig at The Gov the perfect sized venue for the band, but I was very happy to see that Melbourne’s Dallas Crane were opening the show as I’ve always found them to be a great live act in a rock club setting.
When I arrived at the venue, The Gov’s beer garden at the back of the big room was already full of people out enjoying the warm summer night and looking like they were ready for the perfect way to start the weekend.
When Dallas Crane made their appearance not long before the sun went down, they very quickly had the crowd moving from the back of the space to the front of the stage. Right from the opening number, the band blasted through a very upbeat list of songs that kicked off the night perfectly. Front-man Dave Larkin did a great job of interacting with the crowd and keeping everyone pumped up during their performance. His vocals sounded spot-on and between his trading of lead guitar- work with other founding member Pete Satchell, there wasn’t a dull moment during their slot. Throughout the set, the band sounded very tight, with bassist Chris Brodie and drummer Steve Pinkerton providing a very solid rhythm section.
The band covered a good mix of songs from their repertoire including Ladybird, Curiosity and two of their biggest hits Dirty Hearts, and of course, Sit on my Knee, which finished off the set.
Despite having plenty of their own songs to include in this one-hour set, Dallas Crane also managed to play a couple of classic rock covers which slotted in nicely and had the busy room singing along loudly. Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll and AC/DC’s Let There be Rock were both fun additions. By the time this opening set was over, the room had really filled up and Dallas Crane had warmed the Friday night crowd up for a big night.
After a thirty minute beer break, it was time for The SuperJesus to make their headlining appearance. As soon as they began their set, the squeeze at the front of the stage was complete as everyone jostled to the front of the room. It was great to see that this Adelaide band can still play to such an enthusiastic hometown crowd after so many years of success around the country, despite not having released a new album of original songs in twenty years. This was in stark contrast to the first SuperJesus gig I attended around 1994, at The Crown and Anchor Hotel, with a crowd of about twenty or thirty people at best.
The set opened with the song Ashes from their debut album, 1998’s Sumo, and with singer/guitarist Sarah McLeod hobbling out onto the stage in a moon-boot as a result of having a broken foot. This initially seemed to slow down her stage movements but as the show went on and the crowd got more responsive, Sarah seemed to get more and more fearless and even ended getting up on the drum-riser a few times throughout the show.
There were some big changes in the band’s line-up this time around. Not long after the Kiss support slot, a new guitarist and drummer were brought into the fold to join Sarah McLeod and original bassist Stuart Rudd. Cam Blokland was now on lead guitar and on drums, Murray Sheridan, who is also the band’s producer as they have begun work on a new album set for release later in the year. Next up was Secret Agent Man from the band’s second album Jet Age. After a couple more songs from earlier albums, the band then launched into their first of the new songs that will soon be featured on their aforementioned new album. Money (We’re Only in it for Love) is the latest SuperJesus single and this one went down very well. Not only is the song super catchy, but Sarah had the crowd singing along to it without too much effort at all. Another new track Lights Out was also instantly memorable, making me think this new album might actually do alright.
As the band ploughed through some of biggest songs from their catalogue including Gravity (complete with a huge audience-participation singalong), and Down Again, it was apparent that Sarah’s voice is stronger than ever, and the band were gelling together perfectly. You wouldn’t have known that half of the band were new additions.
After the set closer Saturation, it was clear that the band would be back onstage for an encore. The crowd demanded it! Also, the fact that the band members walked off stage without a big announcement that it was the end of the set…made it obvious that they had more to go.
When they did return to the stage, they kicked off the remaining songs with the beautifully mellow Second Sun. This, to me, was more proof that Sarah’s voice has become stronger over the years. There’s nothing wrong with the original recording at all but this live performance certainly seemed to have more feeling and grit to my ears.
After this momentary chill-out in proceedings, it was time for the band to crank it back up again to finish the night off. Stick Together from the Rock Music album was next, before the band said their final farewells, thanked the hometown crowd, and ended the set with a cover of The Gin Blossoms’ Hey Jealousy.
Dallas Crane and The SuperJesus both seemed to be genuinely enjoying playing in Adelaide on this stop on the tour and thanked the crowd on numerous occasions during their sets. This appreciation most definitely went both ways as both bands left a lot of smiles on faces in the venue. When the lights came on, it looked like there were a lot of people who were very pleased with this start to the weekend and looked to be in no hurry to go home at all.
Your last chance to see them on their MONEY tour.
March 3rd 2023 @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne