Mike Rudd's
Stop Press
Feb. issue #211

live gigs
see current gig guide
Spectrum, Murtceps and Phil Manning at the Oakleigh Music Hall Sun. 19.2.23
Spectrum moonlights at Legsy's 70th

Crudd feels a cool breeze tickling his testicles..

The return of the dreaded Double and other more perplexing peripherals
27.2.23 - In the sixties, bands like Ross Wilson’s The Party Machine thought nothing of ‘doing a double’ (two consecutive gigs in the one day) or even (occasionally) a triple, but that was fifty-four years ago for goodness sake.
Sunday the 19th of Feb. wasn’t always going to be the Big Day it turned out to be. Originally it was scheduled as the first in the 2023 series of Legends of Oz Rock (son of the Legends of Sunbury series) featuring the usual suspects, i.e. Madder Lake and Spectrum with special guest Phil Manning, but the Madders were unable to raise the requisite numbers and Steve (Georgiou) rather surprisingly took me up on my offer to substitute the Madders with The Indelible Murtceps.
So far so good. Then I get an email from my old mate Legsy-boy’s wife Katharine wondering if Spectrum was available to play at Legsy’s 70th birthday party. Unfortunately it was on the same date as the Legends gig and as both functions were in the afternoon it sounded highly unlikely – far-fetched even. Then Kath said they might be able to stretch their party into the evening to accommodate us scrambling from Oakleigh to Hawthorn to play an hour-long set to the delight of the assembled revellers – so now the impossible was just highly unlikely and could even evolve into the possibly feasible. We're ON!
There was no PA available at the birthday party, so I met Kath at the venue at 11.00 on Sunday and eventually remembered how to set-up the Spectrum vocal PA – it’s been a while – and left Hawthorn a little after midday for the sound check at the Oakleigh Music Hall -
I timed the trip on my watch and it tallied with the Google Maps guesstimate.
The load-in at Oakleigh was relatively painless, as was the sound check, but there was a problem lurking in the wings that I’ll discuss later..
By the time we’d finished sound-check Murtceps was due on stage, so I missed lunch and had nothing to eat until I got to the party at about 6.15. Robbo helpfully pointed out that performing on an empty stomach is better than the other way round.
I’d left my Cruddy square pants at home, so was compelled to wear my jeans. I compensated for this by forgetting to zip up my fly, thankfully not noticing this embarrassment until after the set. (see pic) Maria noticed though and was mortified, although not mortified enough to approach the stage and inform me of the gaping gaffe.
Nevertheless, the Murtceps set was cheerful enough and I retired to the bandroom to change into my usual Spectrum clobber feeling quite warm and fuzzy, having been complimented by numerous people on the way there.
By the time I returned the hall to sit with Maria and the other Phil, (Phil's partner, Philippa Riddiford), the real Phil Manning was well into his set. He sounded his usual marvellous self too, so I was reassured that our sound-guy, Jasper, was doing an excellent job of fleshing out the uninspiring stage sound. Mind you, the unembellished sound from my Hot Rod guitar amp was distressing enough to finally convince me that I need a new guitar amp urgently. News on that to follow.
Then it was Spectrum’s turn. Bren’s not regularly included in the Murtceps line-up, but at my invitation ‘Unco Mason’, wearing an eye-catching pair electric-yellow harem pants, had popped up at the end of the set to play along with a couple of Murtceps songs.
It was nice to have Bren on board of course, but I’m just happy that Bren’s dynamic presence regularly transforms the main band, Spectrum, considered by some to be an indulgently convoluted bunch of prog wannabes, (i.e. wankers) into a full-tilt rock band.
To return to the problem I mentioned lurking in the wings. It was when we were frantically packing up our gear to flee to Hawthorn I noticed that one of my hearing aids was missing. After some panic-stricken searching I discovered it lying on the stage where it had obviously been stepped on. It’s now being repaired at a no-doubt exorbitant cost. Those who follow these Stop Press accounts will know that this is not the first time I’ve lost one, or even both of these precious items, so I’ve now had to resolve to ALWAYS return them to their pouch in future, no matter how inconvenient this might be.
Back to the second instalment of the Double. The birthday party function room was located upstairs for that extra degree of difficulty, but thankfully there was a (very slow) lift to help alleviate the pain. It almost goes without saying that the lift had to break down just as were finishing the load-in, making for an untidy end to the day, especially for Bren, who was suffering injuries to both his legs.
Despite all of this we were ready to start playing at 7.00, but strangely that’s when it was decided the birthday speeches were to be delivered, so we didn’t actually start until 7.45. After the tight sets at Oakleigh it was kinda nice to kick back a bit with the Spectrum material and I know there was much appreciation in the room for the effort, most importantly from the birthday boy, a long-time supporter of things Rudd.
It was a pleasant surprise to catch up with Adam, Kerri and Sasha Stevens from Choclatte (now deceased) in Camberwell, a coffee haunt of mine when I lived in Mt Waverley, and Suzanne and Rod from the late lamented Basement Discs.
A few of the girls gamely gravitated to a corner of the room near the band and found a way to dance to Spectrum’s beguiling rhythms while Legsy and Mark ‘Tinno’ Tinson, (my host recently in Newcastle) took the opportunity to assess the merits and otherwise of the current Spectrum incarnation with furrowed brows.
Then came the lift-less load-out that doesn’t bear discussion, followed by five weary blokes dispersing in all directions to head to home, sweet home, after what was all-told a very busy day for old men.

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