(Gig Review New Globe Theatre, Fortitude Valley Sat 1 Apil 2017)
The April fools were thin on the ground yesterday as Brisbane was the place where rock n roll dreams came true, playing not only host to the “Rock n Roll Writer’s Festival” but the keenly anticipated reunion of one of the city’s finest outfits “Ups and Downs”.
Mick Medew and his Mesmerisers shared the bill whipping up the punters into a power pop inspired frenzy with a mix of mesmerisers originals, a smattering of Screaming Tribesmen numbers and some killer covers, including a most excellent version of the Undertones “Teenage Kicks”. No matter how many times you hear the opening bars to “Igloo” (A crowd favourite and unofficial Screaming Tribesmen signature track co-written by Medew and Ron Peno) it has the ability to pull you in evoking a feeling of isolation in an eerie polar zone, complete with a red telephone, and a wandering shoe shine boy. Mick Medew wears his heart on his sleeve whether playing to a festival crowd or an intimate acoustic set he gives it his all, for mine this guy stands alongside the likes of Cyril Jordan, Peter Case, as one of the great song writers and front men of the power pop genre. The Mesmerisers closed the set with a rollicking road tested cover of 20th Century Boy, they came they plugged in and rocked, job well done!
Ups and Downs came out of the blocks swinging with two tracks from their new album “The Sky’s in Love with you” (safe to say pun definitely intended). “Awesome” and “Disco in my Head” sounded both fresh and contemporary reminding the punters that these guys are not content hiding behind the safety of their paisley shirts.
“Lit By The Fuse” saw the band shift into top gear, front man Greg Atkinson in fine form joined by his brother Darren on drums and harmony vocals, saw them deliver a note perfect rendition with a sense of urgency that made it sound every bit the pristine pop gem first released in 1988.
“Where is the Sun” from the 1986 Sleepless EP was a definite highlight and a welcome trip down memory lane. As expected their cover of ” Solitary Man” stood the test of time leaving a smile on the dial of even the most cynical punter. By the time Peter Shaw hit the opening chords to the infectious guitar driven anthem the “Living Kind” they had the crowd in their hip pocket, and what’s not to love, sublime vocal harmonies courtesy of the brothers Atkinson, the soaring guitars of John Flade and Peter Shaw and the punching, cure like bass lines (Greg Atkinson swapping bass duties throughout the set with new member Alex Ronayne).
Bringing the festivities to a close with the boys went back to the archives to pull out their second single “perfect crime” and closed with another gem from the Sleepless EP “Travelling” .
There was without a doubt more ups than downs on this fine evening. Welcome back Ups and Downs.