Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.
Melbourne was lucky enough to have Wollongong legends Tumbleweed down for a long weekend of gigs kicking off with two headline shows with BRUCE! at The Gasometer, Collingwood and heading up River Rocks at The Barwon in Geelong. These are the first out of town gigs since the very sad passing of Weed bassist and much loved Jay Curley. Huge respect and love from all of Melbourne.
BRUCE! kicked off the two band line up with their usual sense of style; black uniforms name tagged with BRUCE!, thick fuzzed out Hulk-like riffs with the strength of ten Iommi’s and kick arse harmonies only outdone by bassist Luke Armstrong’s hoarse growls that would make Nick Oliveri cower in the corner.
One of the highlight’s of every BRUCE! set is the song Someday, an instant timeless classic in the same vein as GOD, Lime Spiders, Radio Birdman and The New Christs.
The main band room in the Gaso is a large two storey room with a mezzanine and cylindrical domed roof that runs its length. It opens up to display a large overly lit billboard that’d seem only more appropriate if it read HOLLYWOOD. The roof is closed when the bands play, for what I assume is noise restriction purposes, but it’s a pretty cool idea. The room gave BRUCE! a slightly different feel, like playing in somewhat of an echo chamber with the sound bouncing around the room but they still nailed it as always, after all, they are BRUCE!
Tumbleweed walked out on stage to a room of deep love and respect. Filled with mostly old friends and long time fans of the band; you could almost feel the hands reaching out in one big Melbourne communal hug. The first gig in Wollongong after the band lost Jay Curley would’ve been understandably difficult for the guys and seemingly too soon. This gig however, allowed them the time to warm up to it rehearsing with two ‘brothers’ from the previous and fellow ‘Gong band, BRUCE! One blood, Mick Curley and the other a close family friend Luke Armstrong. Both the guys took turns filling in on bass and playing with a respect and love that truly payed homage to the awesome Jay Curley.
It was obviously a bit of a different vibe to their set with Mick coming out first on bass but also after guitarist Paul Hausmeister had some issues after he first blew a fuse and then admitting that you should never buy guitar pedals off eBay as one of his stopped working. While the band waited patiently for the fuse issue to be sorted they rocked into a Ramones classic, Blitzkrieg Bop and then vocalist Richie Lewis throwing it out to requests. After contemplating Louie Louie they fumbled through some of Adam & The Ants Antmusic to clinking beer glasses! So awesome.
With accompanying tripped out lighting by Tarek Ishak, Tumbleweed’s set of classics was appropriately peppered with some of their newer tracks from 2013’s Sounds From The Other Side with Like A Night Owl, Mandelbrot and Mountain but it was the oldies like Sundial, Stoned, Shakedown, Daddy Long Legs, Carousel and the final song of the night Rainbow Waterwillow that drew some of the loudest cheers from the room. When Lewis reminisced about Jay Curley and introed a song with “It’s his song and it’s about making the world a better place, its called Acid Rain”, it attracted a massive round applause of the night.
It was touching to see the love between the punters and the band reciprocated; how many times have you been to a gig and when the band’s in the middle of an instrumental break, seen the vocalist leave the stage to walk out amongst the punters and hug loads of them individually? Truly touching.
The night was a blast! It was an absolute pleasure as always to have both bands down our way and the night was also a way we could raise a glass with the band in person to Jay Curley and his brothers and band mates. Rock In Peace Jay.