Mike Rudd's
Stop Press
May issue #185

gig report - Spectrum's first 50th Anniversary gig at the Thornbury Theatre 11.5.19
Spectrum's second 50th Anniversary show at the Caravan Music Club goes off properly - Sun. 26.5.19
A word association rarely, if ever seen this century (MG)

The ghost of the Continental makes an already special gig even special-er
27.5.19 - With a good two weeks since the first of Spectrum's 50th Anniversary shows at the Thornbury Theatre (see review below) we probably should've been looking at another rehearsal, particularly as we'd added a song (Worm-turning Blues) to the set-list by way of compensation for the loss of Glyn Mason in the line-up, but Bren (Mason) assured me that the song was well-covered in his mind at least, so I left it to the sound-check at the (new) Caravan Music Club to give the song a brush-up.
This is against a background of high expectations engendered by a voracious uptake in ticket sales to the point of a FULL HOUSE being declared in the preceding days. The uptake was such that I had to actually buy the last three tickets available on-line to ensure that Lisa and Deb could gain entry! I have to admit it's a nice problem to have for change though.
As soon as I walked through the door I dubbed the Caravan showroom The Room of Eternal Night, with the only natural light in the room seeping through the open door.
The good-sized room is surrounded with plush black curtains and the comfortable and well-appointed stage has the ubiquitous black curtain on the back wall as well as black carpet on the stage.
The feature on stage that I didn't notice at first is the even plusher red curtain that can be strategically drawn across proceedings while the bands change over to be theatrically re-opened to reveal the next band launching into their first number, happily unfettered by the shame of being observed crawling around the stage setting-up their equipment.
If this reminded me favourably of the long-lamented Continental Club. I was further reminded of it (as well as the former Caravan Club in Oakleigh of course) in the Green Room, where there was a handsome spread of sandwiches, a very tasty hummus dip and fresh fruit - and liquid refreshment.
The ungreen walls are covered in A3 posters of acts that have already or were about to grace the Caravan - and Robbo's son Keaton took the opportunity to creatively add his detailed drum-kit drawing to the grafitti wall.
The sound-check was slotted for 1.00 and we did manage a run through Worm-turning. (Technical alert) The latest configuration of my pre-amp app actually sounded pretty good - for both guitars - and so I was relatively relaxed while people started to arrive at the club for the 3.00 start.
The other good thing about the show room is that it sounds so good - Madder Lake sounded the best I've heard them so far - and the addition of Pixie to the crew, the universally endorsed expert at the sound-desk, obviously augered well for our part of the show.
And so it transpired. As I started the opening lick for Launching Place Part ll the curtains opened and there we were, eye-balling the best crowd we've seen since the two bands began this hare-brained Double Bill enterprise.
We managed to include all but the very last encore, which I wasn't altogether unhappy about as my D harp had lost a crucial note (which I discovered when guesting in Badlands with the Madders).
I was sort-of relaxed, but I had been apprehensive though. In fact, all week
I'd been fretting over a particular song that was back in the repertoire - Real Meanie.
I'll candidly admit that a lot of my songs verge on and even surpass the 'crass' description and Real Meanie's one of those. The recorded version features on Spectrum's Testimonial album (still awaiting digital re-release) and Ariel's Rock & Roll Scars and may've originally been inspired by Clockwork Orange in the first place. Incidentally, I've never been that happy with the recordings, but as a (crass) song it has some merit and it's fun to play live.
In any case, the real world can occasionally align with art and crass songs in a bad way and the spate of young women being murdered in Melbourne, culminating with the very recent Courtney Herron murder, added to my unease.
My usual swaggering misogynist rave in the middle of the song seemed particularly inappropriate and when we actually arrived at that point in the song during our performance I still hadn't resolved a less jarring approach.
I instinctively started out with the polar-opposite of swaggering, almost as though I wanted the earth to swallow me up - and just when it felt like it was all going to fall over, reintroduced the cocksure hooligan to take the song out.
I actually got a bit excited that it had come to me on the spur of the moment. That's the thing I've always liked about playing in Spectrum - there's always space for a bit of inspired innovation and the indulgence of the Spectrum audience has always played a very crucial role in this.
I'm also very fortunate to have a permanent band to take to the public that is alert to any unannounced Ruddy innovations. Having said that I really think that the show can stand improvement, but yesterday's show was deeply satisfying on a number of levels.
See you at the Yarraville Club in July!

back to the top
The first of two 50th Anniversary shows goes off damn well at the Thornbury Theatre Sat. 11.5.19

The Spectrum boys finish the song at the same time..*

The Thornbury Theatre resonates to the sounds of the Spectrum and the Mason Bros
13.5.19 - I was glad to find that although we were playing upstairs at the Thornbury Theatre it wasn't quite as upstairs as I'd feared and the load-in was within the capabilities of a man of my extreme seniority. Former Heaters' drummer, Robert Dillon was on sound for the night and so I was reasonably assured that the show would sound much as it did at the sound-check, but perhaps even better with a decent sized crowd through the doors.
The size of the crowd was the issue which prompted the promoters to rebrand the Double Bill shows at the Thornbury and the Caravan Club as 'Mike Rudd's 50th' something-or-other and include a third similarly vintaged act on the bill, namely Chris Stockley and his band, Bram.
It was a very early sound-check, but it wasn't worth heading back home so Maria, Robbo and I took the opportunity to to join Brenden and Glyn (the Mason Bros) and Chrissie James at the Super Ming, a café just down the road from the theatre for a light Asian meal where we were able to observe at close hand Thornbury buzzing with masses of groovy people cruising round for a groovy meal in a groovy joint - leaves Lilydale for dead in that department. (We's turnin' into mountain folk, Thelma).
We wandered into the gig just before the starting time of 8.00 (adjusted forward from 8.30 which caught a few people by surprise) and it was filling up nicely. By the time Chris' amiable set had finished the room was nearly full and the Madders were ambling onto the stage.
It was immediately evident that Brenden Mason was on fire and there was an unmistakable swagger to his guitar playing in the Madders' set which augered well for the Spectrum set. I was duly invited to bring my D harp to the stage for the band's final number, Bren's Badlands, one of my fave Madder Lake contemporary numbers - and then it was Spectrum's turn.
Initially I got a bit cranky trying to set-up my very modern iPhone amp simulator, but pulled myself together sufficiently to crunch into Launching Place Part 2, the new set opener.
Things were going pretty well but I was very conscious of the time because I'd been advised there's a curfew after 11.30 and figured that as the set stood it was going to take us well past that point - I couldn't afford to lose any time with our special guest, former Arielist Glyn Mason playing with the band.
Sure enough I had to ditch a song or two to bring Glyn on stage in time, but of course it was worth it.
We launched into Glyn's statement song, I'll Not Fade Away, which I had fun pointing out fades both in and out on the the Goodnight Fiona album.
That was followed by the song that Billy Thorpe thought the best Australian pop song EVAH, It's Only Love, the last Ariel single and written by none other than our very special guest, Glyn Mason.
Then it was a sprint to the finish line, but in spite of my best intentions it was already 11.30 when Chris Stockley joined us on mandolin to render the one millionth version of I'll Be Gone and obviously later still when we were encouraged by the audience to play Esmeralda, with everybody in the room joining with us enthusiastically for both songs.
Regrettably Glyn won't be joining us for the second 50th Anniversary gig at the new Caravan Music Club, but I know we're going to have one helluva time anyway on the arvo of Sunday 26th.

*pic by Maria

back to the top
© 2018 mikeruddbillputt.com