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Gig ReviewsReviews

Midnight Oil @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne 14/09/2022

Memories of a strapping young lad with an overabundance of excitement marching through the old brick gates of Friendly Societies Oval in Warrnambool come flooding to the fore as I sit in the august surrounds of the Palais, St Kilda, here is 2022. 

Memories of my very first encounter with the Midnight Oil live are littered with audible echoes from that 80’s crowd chanting Oils, Oils, Oils as I order a beer at the bar, scarcely believing that all these years later, my own adult son serves the frothy to his crusty old dad.  A dad who cannot process into reasonable thought where all those years went between then and now, but oh so privileged to share this moment with my son. 

Then I scan the crowd here assembled, and realise so many are making similar skips down memory lane.  Some fresh and youthful faces venture only so far as the offerings from Resist released in May of this year, while others recall with fondness a Redneck Wonderland, but tonight I share camaraderie with my brothers and sisters who put the black vinyl to the turntable with crackling ushering tracks like Powderworks and Surfing with a Spoon back in 1978, turning it up to eleven before that was a thing.  

We smile knowingly at one another acknowledging that our Aussie staple, the mightily Midnight Oil has literally provided the soundtrack to our lives over thirteen studio albums.  Some here were even at the very beginning when Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie, and Andrew James lured Peter Garrett to Farm in 1973.  Evidently, after burning enough of it, 1976 saw the name change to Midnight Oil and the rest is history.  A rich and rewarding history for band and fan alike, with so many twists and turns, triumphs, and tragedies made manifest in a magnificent and often politically charged plethora of magical musical moments in the unique style of Midnight Oil.  The Hirst signature beat, fronted by the familiar spasm-like celebration from Garrett that will be remembered always as his signature move, the shredding of Rotsey, the 80’s rhythm of Peter “Giffo” Gilford, the years of bass brilliance from the late, great Bones Hillman and the unfaltering brilliance of the multitalented Jim Moginie. Then the young man full of excitement from that first gig in 1986 realises that there will not be one more day of eating and sleeping.  No more will the Oils be there always and every day.  As regular as clockwork with a musical hit to bring current affairs to the ears of the young and old alike. All at an end. Behold Melbourne and commit all the magic to the pages of history. 

Tonight, it was advertised as a three-hour juggernaut of Oils tunes past and present, with no support band in place. How do they match the previous show just 2 nights ago? A show where they belted out a massive 27 song setlist with the energy of a band of 25-year-olds.

How do they do this? Well, in true Midnight Oil fashion, they mix it up a little, add a bit of Oils twist and keep us all on our toes. After all, there was plenty here for both nights at the Palais this week, so it was entirely appropriate.

What wasn’t appropriate was so many backs turned, yabbering loudly, and not giving the Welcome to Country the respect it deserved, I feel compelled to apologize because so many of the songs we were about to hear have helped in some way to bridge the gap that has existed between White Australia and our Indigenous brothers and sisters.  

So, with a tear in the eye because sadly this is one for the road and it all ends for Melbourne tonight.  The last Midnight Oil concert in Victoria and only a handful left for the band. Ever. This is the end.   

It was obvious that previous setlists were not to be followed for tonight’s performance as the welcome opening notes of Read About It blast forth from the stage to the obvious delight of the willing recipients. When Don’t Wanna Be The One followed up as a second offering the crowd again exploded into celebration.

Not knowing what to expect and what they were going to play next, Nobody’s Child, Stars of Warburton, and Under The Overpass were certainly lapped up in the appropriate fashion, but if decibels were any true unit of measure it seemed that the crowd was most ready to applaud loudest for hits of decades gone by.

We were all treated to a surprise addition of Common Ground which the band had dusted off from their ninth studio album Breathe. According to sources, this song has not been played live by the band since 2002.

The stage was amazing in its understated simplicity and certainly smacked of Diesel and Dust for me. Corrugated iron and Rob in the shadow of an old water tank. Perfect.

I feel it is superfluous to include each and every track from the gargantuan setlist. Suffice it to say that it was extensive in anyone’s language. I realise that some might be disappointed, as they may have expected something a little different, but for me, the tracks were certainly an appropriate celebration of the decades of the musical contribution that Midnight Oil has provided.

I guess it is a little like somebody who has loved the music over the course of their life but not necessarily identified with the politics behind some tunes or the political stance of some band members. Each to their own, and each entitled to their opinion especially as the words FUCK CAPITALISM emulated from the crowd in agreement with Pete’s proclamations.

Personally, I loved it and one of the big reasons was my feelings from right back at the start of the show. This genuinely felt to me, like an old-school, open-air regional show. Tracks that people felt were best celebrated with a trip to the bar or a cricket walk to the dunny along with those who realised the merchandise queue might be a little shorter now. It had the authentic feel of those shows of old. I must pause and reflect upon the splendid contribution of Adam Ventoura who I felt honored the contributions of past protagonists. 

Much to the approval of the crowd, Pete donned an “I stand with Ukraine” t-shirt, while they brought the tone down a little to visit some tracks with a common theme. Tracks such as My Country, Wedding Cake Island, and Wind in my Head.

Kosciusko kicked things off again and had the crowd lifting the roof off the newly renovated Palais Theatre. But when we heard the familiar beats of the start of Power and the Passion ring out, those still sitting launched themselves off their butts to sing out loud, it was quite the spectacle. 

All these years, all these hits, and a soundtrack that Midnight Oil has provided to so many lives will help ensure that no one’s years are Forgotten Years nor will the tremendous contribution of Midnight Oil ever be forgotten.

After taking a quick breather off stage, they returned one last time for a 3 song encore. Armistice Day, Beds Are Burning, and Hercules.

The crowd roared in applause for each member of tonight’s performance as everyone who shared the stage, lined up and took their final bows. Then the 5 band members were left to take their bow, and lastly, the original four took their final ever bow to their adoring Melbourne crowd. What a moment!

Unfortunately, most of the crowd appeared to believe that this was all just a fake encore and that surely there were more tracks on the setlist to follow. Those words of the ever familiar chant “Oils, Oils, Oils” rang out into the Melbourne night, however when the lights came on the parting words from the disappointed marred what was otherwise a phenomenally brilliant show. But that’s what this show is all about, the passion and the pain (or power and the passion, whatever you like 😊 ) the bitter-sweet meaning behind it all because … that’s it… no more. Never Again. And for me and so many, it was a thorough privilege to be present and to celebrate ONE FOR THE ROAD with the mighty Oils.

I would not normally make this superfluous addition but I feel compelled to make one humble suggestion. Look below at the MASSIVE setlist, and imagine the moments, pick your favorites and imagine hearing them for the last time ever live. Surrounded by like-minded peers in unbridled celebration and you have got it in one. Fell those goosebumps? Feel that lump in the throat? That was it right there. Thank you for the years, thank you for the tears, thank you for everything Midnight Oil.

Fri 23 Sep, 2022 Barnard Park Busselton, WA – 18+ [Resist]
Wed 28 Sep, 2022 Luna Park Big Top, Sydney – 18+ [One For The Planet]
Sat 01 Oct, 2022 Fellows Oval, ANU Campus, Canberra – 18+* [Resist]
Mon 03 Oct, 2022 Hordern Pavilion, Sydney – Lic. All Ages [One For The Road]

Tickets Available here

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Album InterviewsInterviews+1

Interview with Fletcher Dragge (Pennywise)

Hermosa Beach legends PENNYWISE are gearing up for their return to Oz next month and are bringing with them, for the first time to our shores, fellow Californian punk rockers CIRCLE JERKS to play seven shows along with special guests, Civic who will open all shows*. 

The tour will mark Pennywise’s first return to Australia since last visiting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their ARIA certified Gold stratus album ‘Straight Ahead’ – the band’s highest charting album to date (number 8 in the ARIA charts).    

Fletcher Dragge enthuses;

“Finally Pennywise gets to come back to our home away from home, Australia! Where the beer flows nonstop, along with the chaos. Never a dull moment on a Pennywise tour down under… only one thing could make it better than usual, and that would be coming to town with our mentors and long-time friends THE CIRCLE JERKS!!!  They are back with a vengeance!

This is gonna be an off the f***ing hook nonstop party!  And we can’t wait! Get your tix, get on the booze, and get in the pit, we’re coming for you f***ers!!!!!”  

Formed in the South Bay of Los Angeles, a neighbourhood with a rich punk rock history, Pennywise began in 1988. The band would go on to amass an international following with their combustible chemistry which delivered some of punk rock culture’s strongest songs. Pennywise classics like ‘Same Old Story’, ‘Alien’ and ‘Homesick’ are as fundamental to punk rock and hardcore as stage dives and guitars.

Emerging from the punk underbelly of LA’s South Bay in 1979, Keith Morris (Black Fag, OFF!) and Greg Hetson (Red Kross, Bad Religion) formed Circle Jerks, who quickly became the innovators of a movement simply referred to today as HARDCORE PUNK ROCK.

Melbourne powerhouse Civic will open all shows on the tour (except for Gosford). Forming in 2018 and bonding over a shared love of tightly coiled riffs and a collective musical ethos, Civic have found a home somewhere between 80’s glam rock and Australia’s 70’s greats. Paying homage to the classics, but pivoting on them with an avant-charged edge. 

Raw, searing guitars; pummeling rhythms; driving bass; with vocals that lock into and synergise with their wall of sound. Balanced by the raucous and restrained weaving of melodies and textures, the imbued sense of nostalgia. Driving and tenacious, but never losing sight of a good hook and how to use it, Civic doesn’t tip-toe around the edges – but obliterate them with primal intensity!

This historic pairing of hardcore punk heavyweights will be leaving devastation in their wake this September.


Saturday, September 17: Chelsea Heights Hotel, Melbourne SOLD OUT

Sunday, September 18: The Forum, Melbourne

Tuesday, September 20: Uni Bar, Wollongong

Wednesday, September 21: Drifters Wharf, Gosford

Friday, September 23: Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Saturday, September 24: Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane

Sunday, September 25: Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide

Tuesday, September 27: Metropolis, Fremantle

*Civic not appearing in Gosford

Tickets on sale now from


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Album ReviewReviews

Sabaton – The Great War

Review by Casper

Sabaton has produced a plethora of celebrated songs in their own unique fashion focussed primarily around the history of warfare and is hosts of notable protagonists, but evidently, the band has chosen their 20th anniversary year to deliver their very finest collection in The Great War.

It always seemed inevitable that Sabaton would eventually tackle an entire time period or conflict for a concept album and, as Joakim Brodén explained to me recently, the subject such as The Battle of Passchendaele in The Price of a Mile and Cliffs of Gallipoli eleven years ago for their 2008 offering The Art of War.

Listen in to Joakim explaining more here

Despite the band’s history of successfully melding heavy metal music and factual historical events and our lofty expectations for this concept collection, Sabaton has managed to achieve new levels of brilliance with this heaving behemoth of an album, worthy of the august title, The Great War.

The collection itself is available for pre-order in three formats, namely Standard Edition consisting of the songs in sequence, The Soundtrack Edition sans vocals and lyrics altogether and The Historical Edition.

The Historical Edition complete with short narrations is the pick of the three for me although it makes perfect sense to buy all three in their box set, The Great Box edition.   The narrations afford this album an additional dimension of appeal for the Sabaton faithful and history buffs alike.  To supplement the brilliant lyrics that Sabaton have always managed to create, bursting with historical accuracies and period terminology, the narrations bless us with more historical context to supplement the individual songs already vast appeal.

The first track has narrator giving an account of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria being assassinated on June 28, 1914, beginning the chain of events culminating into WWI.  It is narrated so very well that the additional appeal is immediately evident and as The Future Of Warfare unfolds the realisation arrives that melodically, historically, musically and lyrically, Sabaton have tackled The Great War with a truly great collection.  Nothing short of a masterwork.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom brilliantly summarises the period and circumstances surrounding Thomas Edward Lawrence who through exploits becoming the stuff of legend, became known as Lawrence of Arabia.  This track again is demonstrative of Sabaton’s ability to match such legendary subject matter with suitably soaring musical accompaniment. 

Sabaton continues their bewilderingly brilliant ability to keep history alive through thoroughly magnificent metal music and 82nd All The Way describes the very beginnings of the 82nd Division.  The ‘All American’ division which remains to this day as the 82nd Airborne and the heroics of one its most distinguished servicemen and recipient of the Medal of Honor, Sgt Alvin Cullum York. 

Besides the magnificent accompanying music, it is brilliant to hear ‘Death From Above’, represented in the lyrics…a more contemporary motto for the 82nd which accompanies their older moniker All The Way represented in the title.  Again Sabaton has the detail and factual accounts so well represented in their songs. 

Attack Of The Dead Men musically and lyrically describes what must stand as one of the most horrific sights of The Great War in events during the attack at Osowiec Fortress in 1915.  Blinded, blodied, gasping and staggering from the chlorine gas bombardment were the remnants of the Russian 226th Infantry Regiment.  The German troops watched in horror as those who should have already been dead, continued what mast have been their sole remaining purpose with what life was left in continuing their attack.  German troops apparently panicked and retreated from the Attack Of The Dead Men.   Although far from a celebration of the horrors of warfare, Sabaton manage to provide such amazing music to this tale as the troops, and the gas seem to march relentlessly thought the music.  As is the case with The Red Baron in that musically Sabaton have injected all the urgency and fury one presumes of a dogfight between any of the Aces, let alone against Manfred von Richthofen. 

Fields Of Verdun has already been released to resounding acclaim and was presumably released as a single because it sets the scene of the entire collection to utter perfection. The longest battle in history lasting over 300 days and claiming an average of 70,000 lives every month.  Sitting as track nine in sequence on the album this provides the collection with an additional dimension of sombre reflection.

In Flanders Fields afford a special reverence and honour to complete this musical account of WW1.  A simple choral version of the song derived from the famous John McCrae poem that is widely regarded as the most solemn account of the war to end all wars.

All considered, the mastery of Sabaton, the magnificent production work of Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios, the mastering by Maor Appelbaum and the brilliant artwork by Peter Sallaí represents the tried and tested cast of Sabaton success, but their work on The Great War takes all of that to a whole new level.

As is the case with a genuine masterwork, I fail to feel that my words do any justice in representing the magnitude and sheer brilliance that has been achieved by Sabaton in this collection.  All the angst of warfare written into every drum beat, bass blast, soaring guitar solo, and every vocal utterance.  The temptation to describe the events represented measured with the urgency to pay homage to the blisteringly brilliant music that accompanies the superb lyrics is a struggle indeed.  But so much more awaits you on this incredible album.  Musically, vocally, lyrically and historically, l can only offer a humble reflection that you must, simply must own this monumentally superb album. 

Sabaton will release The Great war, via Nuclear Blast Records. 


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