There was a buzz in the line awaiting entry to the open air theatre set up in the Festival Garden. The line was well established by 7.00pm for an 8.00 pm start.
A bright, quick-thinking bar manager sent over lads to take and deliver drinks orders to those in the queue.
The atmosphere in the Garden was good. There seemed to be more quirky decorations and furniture than last year. Perhaps not surprising given the enormous popularity of the Fringe’s funky Urban Orchard and the new Pleasure Garden.
There was an unexpected support act. Not usually the case for Australian bands, as this is not a Musicians Union requirement, as it is with international bands. Runner was a five piece outfit. There was no doubt they were adequate musicians but they were ill-served by an onstage mixing desk and the absence of a really strong lead singer made for indecipherable lyrics. They were much better appreciated in instrumental moments.
After interval the much anticipated Basics took to the stage. Opening proceedings with “You Want Me”, it was clear we were in the hands of experts. Superior sound mixing, clear diction, and three terrific voices in marvellous accord.
Grammy Award winner Wally de Backer (Goytye) centre stage on drums with Kris Schroeder on bass and Tim Heath on lead guitar. Smart, incisive lyrics were a trademark throughout their original songs. ”The Lucky Country “was a standout.
Supremely comfortable with each other after ten or more years of collaboration, the banter was witty and much enjoyed by the totally packed venue. The band served up great numbers including “Have Love Will Travel “, an hilarious concoction entitled “Three Cool Cats, Three Cool Chicks” and a surprise version of “Béseme Muchos”.
Tim Heath was lead vocalist for “Slave Not a Minute More”. Kris Schroeder took the lead for the equality hymn “I’m a Woman” and Wally De Backer led vocals on a cover of Credence Clearwater Revival’s "Long as I Can See the Light.” Some absolutely wonderful a cappella moments were in evidence in one song. Not only do these three possess great voices but individually they are excellent musicians. De Backer showed brilliant drum work and Schroeder and Heath are talented, hard-working guitarists. After closing with the dazzling, foot- tapping beat of “Money”, The Basics were wooed back onstage for ripper encores, “All Day and All of the Night” and a scorching “Wipeout!”. We all went home very happy indeed.
Perth Festival 2014
Supported by Runner
Venue: Chevron Festival Gardens, Perth
Date: 9 February 2014
Tickets: $40 – $35