Arrived early to get in line and then waited til the doors opened. Sound check for the support band was in full swing when I got there, and seeing as there was a lot of traffic, I'm impressed that I was able to hear much of anything at all. The line up for the band's opening night was small but mostly pleasant. There was an air of impatience when the doors didn't open EXACTLY at eight, but what can you do? There were a couple of air heads in front of me in the line (who are unlikely to know who Whitlam is aside from the name of the band) being all "OMG THE WHITLAMS". When the doors did finally open, we were let in in small groups so the door chick wouldn't be overwhelmed by the masses of mostly older (late 20s plus with random foetuses scattered about the place) well behaved people. ID check and a The ZOO stamp upon entry. My ticket was especially well looked after by the door chick upon her witnessing the bright blue TIM FREEDMAN signature scrawled across the front. Kudos to her! Up the stairs a toddled and straight to the bar for a soothing glass of Lindemans (blech) Shiraz and hobbled over to a window wot had a chair. This was my chair for the rest of the night.
The crowd mingled quietly, with the hardcore teeny FOW (Friends Of the Whitlams) crowd jamming themselves as close to the stage as they could, and patiently waited for the festivities to begin. THE BOAT PEOPLE donnered onto the stage and began to play. I was impressed. Having never heard them in my life before, I was very impressed. Incredibly professional boys with a really tight and well rehearsed sound. Very interesting and vaguely ecclectic 80s rock sound with creative and ocassionally humourous lyrics. Amusing stories about stretch Humvees and how great it was to be using the FEEDS (TIM FREEDMAN) podium complimented the energetic performance. The audience received them with polite applause. They left the stage with their gear in tow and were quickly forgotten by the antsy WHITLAMS base literally champing at the bit for their piece of pie.
Finally the time had arrived for the main attraction. Down went the stage lights, up came the intro music and off went the crowd. The band came on stage quietly in the dark with TIM last on stage to a rousing cat call from the mosh pit. End intro and straight into the first track (taken from the new album). Most of the set was taken from the new LITTLE CLOUD album, with a nice interspersal of all the old classics like NO APHRODESIAC (a loungy version), LOUIS BURDETTE (full of the rockin energy you'd expect it to have); a beautiful solo version of CHARLIE No 2 (which disappointed me because I was really hoping for the dancier version they usually perform), THANK YOU, BLOW UP THE POKIES and of course HAMBURGERS. A less than energetic performance overall from the band (unlike shows from the past), opting for a more sedate "We'll just sit here and play our favourite songs from the new album". Not to say that it wasn't enjoyable. TIM connected with his audience, laughed at them because he could, and played with the songs so they couldn't annoyingly sing along the way they do and drown him out.
LITTLE CLOUD (the album) is a nice and muzak-y collection of songs that are tightly produced, but sound HEAPS better live. There is energy and emotion that's not inherently apparent in the recorded versions which makes any WHITLAMS song sound amazing. The band's live sound is fabulous. TIM's voice is clear and well formed and (despite a somewhat scattered mix from the desk, what were those sound boys doing?) the general mix of sound is perfect. It's difficult to fault their performance other than it was a little dull. Even Jack (the guitarist) was lacking in stage play. Perhaps it was just first night whatever, but I've seen better performances from the lads and this kind of dampened the feel. That said, perhaps the sedate performance was to compliment the songs from their new album, which is sedater than their previous ones. Whatever the reason, Wednesday's performance was less than inspiring but still enjoyable and I can't wait for them to return.