Brisbane’s Rockabilly Rave Up

JD McPherson WPWith David Bowie’s Sound and Vision fading out, the lights dimmed as traditional FA Cup hymn Abide with Me played while tonight’s headliners cooly took to the stage to whoops and cheers from a crowd ready to burst with carefree abandon.

Headlong in to a rock ‘n’ roll blitz, the band exploded, with ivory tinklier, Ray Jacildo, soon perched over  his keys frantically hitting the notes, repositioning his glasses and whipping his quiff back atop his head without missing a beat.

It’s JD show but all musicians got their moment. Jimmy Sutton, stand up bass and producer, was almost centre stage throughout with the singer, his frenetic fingers gambolling on the neck of his old school instrument. His quiff stayed impeccable throughout.

Doug Corcoran, the fifties All American dream, who looked like he’d been fixing his Chevrolet that afternoon before picking up his girl on the way to the show, switched between many guitars and a sax never needing to wipe the sweat from his brow, or readjust his hair.

Unlike JD, who, to back up his Springsteen credentials, stuck with the same guitar throughout, sang, whooped, encouraged and played his often hard guitar licks as band leader for the live show. Jason Smay on the drums filled where he saw a gap, but, as with all the band, never stepped on the immaculate shoes of his mates.

The all inclusive fun quickly spread through the audience; many of whom came bequiffed and bedecked in true rockabilly fashion. These rockabilly guys and dolls couldn’t contain their carefree joy and danced easily amongst the chairs and tables where claps and cheers encouraged the freedom of enjoyment.

Daddy BowieThe band have toured hard, and are no doubt well drilled through tough rehearsals, which gave the effect of being at ease in front of a hungry Brisbane audience. A relaxed JD slipped in some chat and some ‘Brisvegas’ in jokes, raising laughs and call outs in the free ‘n’ easy evening air.

The Triffid is a new venue, aircraft hanger in style and just over a year old, and should be able to flex its muscle in continuing to draw excellent live acts. It’s prime for this sort of night.

Just over two weeks later JD cohorts, The Bellfuries, headlined the inaugural Rockabilly Revival festival in the Redlands. The breakfast time torrential rain didn’t stop the fun, people were wowing at the many hot rods, low riders and pedal bikes on show, and the stalls selling rockabilly items, skull influenced memorabilia, paintings, clothes and, of course, tea, coffee, hot dogs and ice cream.

But the undercover dance floor was where is was at. Not only did the Pin-up Parade induce cheering and wolfwhistles, the constant flow of great bands kept the dance floor roasting, with Rusty Pinto causing it to get white hot as revellers of all ages twisted and twirled, with grandparents, who I feel had a lot of fun, may have had many a sore joint or two on the Monday morning.

RRdancing 2Not to worry, it was all smiles on Sunday with a community applauding the winning cars and enjoying all the bands, plus the dress of this wide ranging institution. More quiffs than an Elvis convention, more immaculate girls than a Victoria’s Secret show but with a scattering of modern rockabilly; long shorts and baseball caps and plenty of tattoos across all ages. Want to see how tattoos like when you are 70? Check the Rockabilly Revival Facebook page for glamorous inked women and hardworking men busting a move.

Some attending were there through intrigue, they may not be combing their hair in to a certain style for work on Monday, but it’s wonderful to see the reach of such family entertainment away from the expected.

Brisbane has a great Rockabilly scene, one which encompasses the 1950s through to now and at both events it was great to see such happy faces from the young to the old in innocent abandon.

Read JD McPherson’s Let The Good Times Roll LP review here.

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