The Angels, A-Z Tour, Round 2
Maroubra Seals, Friday 3rd July 2015
The Angels are the greatest rock band this country has ever produced. There you go, I’ve just said it. Anyone seeking validation of this claim just needed to be at Maroubra Seals in Sydney on Friday 3 July for the opening show of the 2nd round of A to Z shows. A loose concept, choosing songs relevant to letters of the alphabet over a 2 x 13 song set list encompassing 2 and a half hours.
We live in a high pressure expensive city with lots of demands on our time and money. It is important that we can occasionally escape the rigors and routines of our everyday Sydney life and get to experience an escapism with the Angels that is like no other. An unequalled and tumultuous 2 and a half hours of dancing, singing at the tops of our voices and leaping around like 18 year olds. As I look around the Maroubra Seals club there are many baby boomers (myself included) leaping around with all parts of their body wanting to move. The mind is willing but some of these older bones are going to hurt in the morning. It’s like a workout for many of us trying to keep up with Dave Gleeson’s amazing dance moves and crazy antics. It’s like someone just gave you an injection of joy at the door when you present your ticket to join the concert and you are not alone with many others coming to forget about the day that just was or just welcoming in another weekend in our beautiful city. After all, it is Friday night in Sydney and it feels good to dance and party.
I am surprised with the amount of women that have attended tonight’s show, for it is obvious the audience is not just made up with a sprinkling of wives or girlfriends that have been persuaded to come. There are large groups of ladies that have all banded together for a great night out, and this makes for a terrific atmosphere. A predominantly older crowd as you would expect, but many younger patrons as well, coming to see a band that mum and dad have probably talked about for years on end. The songs are so familiar, with many households having had the Angels as a staple musical diet for several decades.
In 2015, when Madonna can charge $2000 for a front row seat to her Sydney shows next year, it is refreshing to think that I could take my entire football team with their partners, and the opposition football team also with their partners, to see the Angels next Sydney gig at Dee Why RSL on Saturday 11 July 2015 for the same money. At $40 a ticket, the Angels are real, have got it right, are still doing what they love, and make it affordable to have a good night out. I really admire that.
Again, in 2015, The Angels have never sounded better. Rick Brewster and John Brewster (guitars) are joined by John’s son, Sam Brewster (bass), together with Nick Norton on drums and Dave Gleeson on vocals. There is a genuine electric chemistry here with longevity written all over it that I sense while watching tonight’s show. The on stage banter from Dave Gleeson just makes me laugh and he is just such a fun loving guy. Australia’s true leading, consummate front man. The visual gestures and actions as Dave Gleeson sings the line from No Secrets “the smile she keeps for you” cracks me up and shows that you can have some fun with a visual aesthetic while you are belting out a bombastic rock song.
Nick Norton is a superb drummer and found a pair of sunglasses while in France last week so he thought why not wear them for tonight’s show. I asked Nick after the show what it was like performing for such a long show, being 26-28 songs per night. He replied, “Being the drummer with the Angels is hard work. Every song is full on and you don’t get a break. There aren’t too many ballads in-between songs and I have to give 110% every night”. Nick is a welcome addition to the band and has contributed songs to the latest Angels album “Talk the Talk" including a song he co-wrote with John Brewster called “Everyman” which is my personal favorite on the album.
Sam Brewster gives some youth to the lineup with his dad, John, and Uncle Rick, and is an accomplished bass player and musician. Pedigree, genes and an environment saturated and imbibed with music from birth has served Sam well. He is enjoying his playing time up on stage and I asked him if he ever had time to enjoy Sydney when the Angels play here. “We don’t actually get a lot of time to explore cities that we tour as we have sound checks and are working but we have done harbor cruises in Sydney before. I used to live in Sydney but have moved to Adelaide and I am enjoying playing with the band”.
2015 has also seen the Angels tour Europe for the 1st time in decades with shows in London, Sweden and France proving popular. John Brewster had this to say about the recent Paris show “The crowd in Paris was insane. We have never played to a crowd quite like it. 500 strong with locals and expats singing along to every word and the crowd even sang along to Rick’s guitar breaks. It was just incredible. We are likely to tour there again in 2016”.
Tonight’s show at the Maroubra Seals is the 1st show of the 2nd run of A to Z shows, with the European dates having split this tour into 2 halves. The band is tight and sounds polished after the European dates. The Angels are in fine form. “After the Rain” gets the show under way with “Shadow Boxer”, “Comin Down” and “Dogs are Talking” following to get the crowd’s juices flowing. It doesn’t take long to get the dance floor shaking and any body part that wants to move just moves. That’s just how it goes at an Angels concert. If it feels good do it. No airs and graces here. “Fashion and Fame” and “Face the Day" are well received by tonight’s crowd and when the 2 Brewster brothers stand side by side for the lead break in “Face the Day” it sends shivers down my spine. Simply outstanding! “I ain’t the one” is full on balls out rock n roll but the ladies in the audience are into this one too, and not to be outdone by the lads, the girls are shaking everything as well. “Straight Jacket” just keeps the party going and "Broken Windows”, “Take a Long Line” and “Marseilles” bring to an end part one of this show. A good well balanced opening set and as I look around everyone is having a great time.
The Angels are blessed to have such a glorious back catalogue of songs to choose from that the set list could be quite varied each night if they so wished.
Part 2 of the show commences with “No Secrets” and the pleasing thing with this show is that there are a quite a number of tunes from the latest album “Talk the Talk”. This is a particularly good Angels album and “Broken Windows”, “I come in Peace”, “Heart of Stone” and “Talk the Talk” all get played tonight. Quite a few songs from the album “No Exit” also get a run tonight in the 2nd half of the show with “Ivory Stairs”, “Mr Damage”, “Can’t Shake it” and “No Exit” all making the cut. The performance of “No exit” is exceptional and is my personal favourite song of the night. A recent rendition of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” rounds out the Z in what has been a thoroughly enjoyable night.
Sydney is lucky to have such an exceptional band playing shows here, and there are several opportunities in the next few months to see the Angels perform at Dee Why RSL 11th July 2015, The Bridge Hotel Rozelle 31st July 2015 and 1st August 2015, Penrith Panthers 7th August 2015 and Wenty Leagues Club 8th August 2015. Don’t take my word for it, buy a ticket for $40 which is great value and a good night will be shared by all.
see more photos here
For a complete list of The Angels upcoming gigs, visit their website: www.theangels.com.au