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Red Hot Summer Series 2: Icehouse, Simple Minds, Noiseworks, Daryl Braithwaite, Bachelor Girl
Mornington Racecourse Saturday 10 February

Review: Bryget Chrisfield. Photos: Greg Phillips

The first time Simple Minds toured Australia in 1981, they were invited to open for Icehouse – by the band. They share a stage once again for Red Hot Summer Series 2 – more than four decades on – and while Icehouse are today’s headliners, Simple Minds will do the honours at Rochford Wines tomorrow.

During this Scottish band’s previous Australian tours, we’ve been reminded of the quality of their trailblazing club bangers – I mean, have you given Love Song a spin lately? It’s in a live setting that Simple Minds truly come Alive (& Kicking – sorry, couldn’t resist).

Simple Minds – Love Song

The electronic pulse of opener Waterfront lures us down front; this song sounds like a victory lap, resplendent with perfectly timed air-punch ops.

Throughout their set, the Mornington Racecourse massive is not only treated to a masterclass in rockin’ dance-pop (see: epic closer Sanctify Yourself), but also a smattering of moving, ‘Wait, I think I’ve got dust in my eye’ moments: Belfast Child – which was written by Jim Kerr in the wake of 1987’s Enniskillen bombing – is a standout, with its tin-whistle hook lingering, suspended in the atmosphere.

Kerr still loves a grand gesture – there’s lotsa pointing and circling a pointer finger overhead, like a lasso, as well as his trademark limber side lunges. He also enjoys pointing to individual fans with impressive lyrical knowledge. Aside from being an absolute joy to watch, beaming guitarist Charlie Burchill’s trademark shimmering tone is uplifting and impactful.

Absolutely everyone should experience Don’t You (Forget About Me)s soul-stirring “Laaaaa/ La-la-la-laaa” singalong en masse – Kerr letting the crowd take over completely here as he gazes at the spectacle – at least once during their lifetime.

Fun fact: Simple Minds didn’t actually wanna release Don’t You (Forget About Me), which featured in John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, since they didn’t write their most well-known song; it was composed by producer Keith Forsey and guitarist Steve Schiff.

During Bachelor Girl’s ace opening set earlier today, Tania Doko pointed out that – disappointingly – she’s the sole female frontperson representing within Red Hot Summer Series 2’s five-band line-up. However, the two women in Simple Minds’ current incarnation – drummer Cherisse Osie and backing vocalist Sarah Brown (Incognito), who Kerr often ushers downstage to share his limelight – are both mind-blowingly talented forces to be reckoned with to inspire future generations of female musicians.

Glittering Prize, Promised You A Miracle and of course the super-appropes Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) – there’s a whole lotta love being danced out into the world as we dust off our best ’80s side-stepping moves for a boogie in the sunshine. Simple Minds maintain career-best form.

“It’s always cold inside the icehouse…” – Icehouse’s ethereal namesake song and long-time favourite live opener washes over us just before sunset. Iva Davies is a vision in black leather up there and we’re also thrilled to clap eyes on Michael Paynter, bracing ourselves for the utter devastation of Man Of Colours (during which Paynter takes lead vocals while Davies concentrates on his oboe solo, before returning to lead vocals for the song’s second half from, “Hey says, ‘I keep my life in this paintbox…’” onwards). And, honestly, this set highlight never disappoints – goosebumps are a given and we’re reminded just how much Paynter’s Farnsy-esque vocal prowess is an asset to current-day Icehouse.

Ditto with saxophonist Hugo Lee, who’s just gotta love the amount of hero moments that playing with Icehouse affords him. There’s nothing cheesy about his showstopping sax solos and he particularly elevates another standout track, Don’t Believe Anymore – Lee rightly deserves the spotlight.

But it’s all about Great Southern Land, of course. And from the moment that heathaze-conjuring synth enters the scene, we’re utterly captivated and floored by this alternative/preferred national anthem’s immense power: “I hear the sound/ Of the strangers’ voices/ I see their hungry eyes/ Their hungry eyes…”

Icehouse – Great Southern Land

Hey, Little Girl also proves irresistible to our dancing feet, with Paynter’s skyhigh falsetto BVs (“Who can you turn to now?”) delivered with aplomb. Crazy is delightfully dramatic and singing along with the “O-oh!” chorus BVs is an absolute hoot.

Back when Icehouse went by the name Flowers, they would often play cover versions, which the band acknowledges this evening by including two stellar covers – Bowie’s The Jean Genie and Marseilles by The Angels – in their encore, which closes out with the sax-tastic Nothing Too Serious. What a day! We’ll be buzzing for days – maybe even weeks! – to come.

Editor’s note: Sadly we missed Bachelor Girl and Daryl Braithwaite’s sets but we did arrive in time to shoot Noiseworks, who dug deep into their catalogue to deliver a fabulous hit-laden, energetic set. Check out some of those photos below. Unfortunately Icehouse connections would only allow photos to be taken from the sound desk, which was situated at ground level and therefore didn’t offer a real option for quality shots.






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