Klaus Kaperberg was losing his cool. Perhaps he’d started playing the slots as a form of relief, but that feeling had long progressed to something like frustration. In the pub, Tim Freedman called an accusatory question regarding the newly-installed poker machines ringing aside the stage over to Angus in the bar, not knowing the turmoil that existed between father and son regarding the installation of said machines. But that was an episode of Love Is A Four Letter Word.
The Corner Hotel, October 10, 2014…
I realised that it was the first time I’d experienced The Whitlams in that kind of environment on Friday – the intimate, pub gig – after seeing them in different kinds of environments over the course of their career: in a park, at a festival, at a university party. I remembered those early-2000s television extras in Angus’s pub when the opening strains of Blow Up The Pokies rang out from the stage and felt like how they must have felt at seeing Tim Freedman up close.
Before that, though, I was treated to the debut performance of a group called Voix D’Or. The cute singer introduced her songs with what seemed a practised shyness from beneath the brim of a wide hat. The group sounded like how deadstar might have if they’d co-written their songs with Chris Isaak – something they seemed to acknowledge with stylishly simple cover of Wicked Game.
After a few years of the laid-back Tim Freedman solo shows, it was good to see him back on stage with his old band (albeit as the only original member) playing a selection from the full range of genres the group have dwelt in. It was surprising to hear Tim refer to songs dating back as far as 1989, so there was no shortage of material in the set which deliberately spanned the band’s lengthy career. With that in mind, the inclusion of a cover of Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talkin’, however worthy it might have been, seemed frustrating when so many Whitlams favourites were left unplayed – I still yearn to hear Chunky, Chunky Air Guitar live.
On the other hand, songs like Charlie No. 1 and No. 3 sounded rejuvenated with the traditional band backing, and She Makes Hamburgers and especially set highlight Louis Burdett had the pub moving, and it was like being in a scene from Love Is A Four Letter word and in 2001, but without the drama and subconscious interludes.