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17 Nov 2013

Finally a retro band worthwhile: Misex

Although gazillions drive past the old Bridge Hotel at Rozelle few know the joys within. Living in the leafy millionaire’s row at Wahroonga while lamenting the lack of a said million or three, I was too far away to explore classic venues like this. Except for one miserable night earlier in 2012 attempting to identify The Angels amongst the bloated group on stage.

Eventually it was obvious there were Brewster Brothers along with at least one Brewster son, but that was it – Dave Gleeson was channeling The Screaming Jets with his imaginary chats to the people in the dress circle, and a bemused looking guy sat at a Hammond Organ awaiting the tedious next ‘new song from the new album’ in between covers of The Angels. It was inadequate, inappropriate, and insensitive given singer Doc Neeson was and is still alive and needs the money for his ailments.

A worse expedition to the city lights previously endured ‘Dragon’, which today features just Todd Hunter from the glory days. Even when this band had its full lineup in the late 1980s’ they had run out of steam, so much so a review once opened with ‘the ghost of this once great band drags on’. Retro band reunions are hit and miss – Birtles Shorrock Goble did an outstanding redux of The Little River Band a decade ago despite legal action preventing them trading as said band and thus preventing a triumphant and profitable tour of the USA. (LRB saga reported here) The couple of Sherbet reunions I have seen suffered from lack of rehearsals and are now impossible due to the untimely and unsettling death of both guitarists.

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Soon I predict a sell out national tour of Midnight Oil, with the original lineup and they will kick the proverbial butt, as I’m sure Hunters and Collectors are as this is written. Sunny Boys, Spy V Spy and the hoary old Radiators (half original lineup but they never stopped gigging) are all capable of selling, while James Reyne, Darryl Braithwaite, Ross Wilson and Richard Clapton will do a gig without depending on their previous lineups. INXS never recovered from the loss of the legendary front man, but probably kept trying because AC-DC more than cashed in after our mate Bon left us.

But one wet Saturday Sydney night I went to the Bridge Hotel, now within walking distance of my new pad in Birchgrove from which which I have a choice of several pubs that vend live music to a more discerning (older) audience who are not afraid to get rolling drunk and rock out. Count me in!

Misex had a sting of chart hits and did the business most nights in the golden era of touring rock, 1977 – 1984. After the death of the lead singer Steve Gilpin, they were not considered candidates for a reunion until they teamed with Steve Balbi, songwriter for Noiseworks. His Johnny Depp inspired stage garb disguises an entirely acceptable take on the sound of Misex, and with guitarist Kevin Stanton out of action and replaced, the lineup is intact.

It was strange to see a 7 tonne Isuzu outside the pub, which has in-house production, but that confirmed the presence of Master Sound who were hired for the three dates in Sydney. Miniature DiGiCo console and compact lighting desk were the only space invaders inside the 300 capacity rock room, the house Nexo Alpha PA did its job, as did the rustic Par cans, supplemented by some LED fixtures on the floor and a few Mac 600’s up high.

Suzanne and I had a rocking great 90 minutes, the crowd went off, and at the end the floor was wet with booze and littered with crushed VB cans. Gabriel from Master Sound did a very suitable mix, and the exhumed lighting guy didn’t annoy me with strobes.

It was an authentic take on original music, by the originators. May they prosper.

(Pictured: Appropriately grizzly old techies attend to Misex)

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