Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Fri 25 Aug.
The Gov turns back the clock tonight; returning to a period that begins sometime around 1977. It’s a rare chance to see and hear Young Modern, a band that probably deserved more than they got back in the day. Fans of the band have been looking forward to this since the last reunion gig in 2010. But wait; there’s more musical goodness to be enjoyed. Also on the bill are Dust Collection and Safari Set. This promises to be some night. The room is dotted with the familiar faces of many Adelaide music scenesters from those golden days of yore. There’s a fair bit of hand-shaking and reminiscing going on.
Dust Collection hit the stage first and the band delivers a fantastic set of (largely) little-known covers from better-known groups. It sounds like we are listening to one of those old Nuggets obscure garageband LPs and, despite vocalist Travis Underdog’s raging cold, it’s a great start to the evening.
It’s good to see Safari Set, and their performance is equally enjoyable. Each member of the three-piece contributes to a full-sounding, tight and interesting show which goes down well with the crowd. It’s a bit of a shame that the audience feels it has to wait for a cover song before deciding to dance. Always Something There To Remind Me is fabulous and fills the dancefloor but it’s the second-to-last song.
After two very impressive performances, it’s time for Young Modern.
The set opens strongly. Do You Care? is followed by Automatic and Countdown and it’s clear that John Dowler’s voice is in good nick. The songs feature the trademark jangling guitars and melodic lead breaks that characterise the band’s sound. Up next is the unreleased My Favourite Drug – “the first song we ever wrote” – providing something a little bit special for the Young Modern faithful.
The quintet appears to be enjoying the music. It sounds pretty good; quite impressive seeing as these guys hardly ever get together and this show comes on the back of only a handful of rehearsals.
The mix is pretty good, although Mark Carroll’s guitar could be louder – the audience may well be missing some of his inspired nuances. This is definitely not the case with Mick Jones’ playing; his controlled, crisp riffing cuts through the room with a clarity that is usually only achieved through excessive volume. Mark Kohler’s drums are right on the money. Andy Richards is largely hidden from view, but his bass joins Kohler in providing a solid rhythmic underpinning for the guitars to capitalise upon. Baby You Lied provides a great example of this.
Dowler doesn’t say too much between songs; he cracks the odd joke, gently exhorts audience members to dance, and tells a little of the Young Modern story. All of which is delivered in an understated, relaxed, somewhat laconic manner. “Here’s the single we released back in 1942” he says, leading the band into She’s Got The Money.
All but two of the songs from the Play Faster album are featured, as well as a selection from the band’s second LP, How Insensitive. Rare treats include the aforementioned My Favourite Drug, the Bluesbreakers’ On Top Of The World (a live staple), and the fabulous (Wanna Be a) Birdman, which is preceded by Dowler’s punny introduction.
The set, and the evening closes with The Big Beat, and the band and punters part ways and return to real life. It is important that everyone involved in this has made the most of their evening because it’s unlikely to happen again in a hurry.
Image courtesy of David Robinson