The Angel with Boom Crash Opera (Canberra, ACT)

6 March 2020 at The Basement

The Angels brought their Sideshow Tour alongside their touring duties on the Red Hot Summer Tour to Canberra on Friday night. It’s always a tough ask when you are playing in Canberra on a long weekend as about one third to a half of the population seems to leave town. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a good crowd of around 300 on hand when I get there.

The Basement is a great venue for live music with a couple of large stages, poll tables, pinballs and a bistro area (Chompy’s) that can be closed off from the main bar. The whole place is buzzing with a great vibe as everyone I talk to is looking forward to the icons of Aussie Rock and Boom Crash Opera. The range of ages here tonight makes it an interesting crowd as definitely parts of this crowd weren’t even born when The Angels released their first album. 

About 8 o’clock the guys from Boom Crash Opera hit the stage to a rousing reception and proceed to make me a fan. I feel like I’m pretty late to the party, but I had never got to see these guys live before tonight. They sound great and have the place rocking right from the start when they kick off with Great Wall.  

From there they warm up the crowd beautifully with the right amount of music, showing off their skills and banter about topics like the Corona Virus, Toilet Paper and lead singer, Dale Ryder’s age of 65, so indicating that he is a prime candidate for Corona. I thought he must have been joking about his age because he makes it look easy, but I’ve subsequently looked it up and he is and his voice still sounds great. They played for about an hour covering hits such as Dancing In The Storm, Hands Up and Onion Skin.

The crowd is charged now as the anticipation builds for Australian Rock royalty, The Angels. A chant goes up and then the band hits the stage. John and Rick Brewster just ooze cool playing along without a worry in the world and sunnies on. Dave Gleeson bounces around the stage like a maniac, Sam Brewster just adds the groove along with Nick Norton as a tight rhythm section.  

The band play through over an hour thrilling the larger crowd all the way through with hits such as After The Rain, No Secrets, Shadow Boxer, I Ain’t The One and of course, the iconic, Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again, complete with the full crowd participation. Dave asks at this point to make sure they do it louder so that when they head to Batemans Bay the next day they’ve got a comparison to see who did the piss-poor version.  

These guys are just ridiculously tight when they play and not a note out of place. The crowd is enthralled all the way through and just get louder when the band leaves the stage before coming back for an encore that included a great Brewster Brothers only song. The band finishes up with the Bluesy sounding Can’t Shake It from the Face to Face album. 

All up a great night Australian rock at its best in one of the best Live Music venues in Canberra.  Everyone I spoke to have had a great time and can’t wait to see them back again. It makes you wonder if I’m ever going to see their face again…

Line-up: The Angels, Boom Crash Opera

Reviewer: Paul Kerr
Photocredits: Megan G. King Photography

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