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A Day On The Green presented yet another quality day of music featuring The Mojo Corner, Ella Hooper, Boy & Bear, Vika and Linda Bull and Chris Isaak. Bryget Chrisfield was there to report on two of the acts and Jason Rosewarne snapped some brilliant photos.

We arrived in Mt Duneed Estate already knowing Vika & Linda, our lockdown saviours (their Sunday Sing Songs on the socials were actually essential to our survival), would be today’s MVPs (soz, Chris). Their blood harmonies really are an unfair advantage and the Bull sisters hypnotise all assembled from the moment they hit the stage to present their gospel-infused opener, I’m On My Way – amen, sisters!

Vika & Linda’s backing band, The Bullettes (featuring Cameron Bruce on piano), are dressed in all black whereas Vika & Linda – our soulful angel kweens – favour white and cream hues. While introducing the joyous When Will You Fall For Me, Vika shares that Mark Seymour – who’s spotted sidestage during their set – “came to the rescue” with this “last-minute song”. After he played it for them – on acoustic guitar in a studio reception area, while they were recording their debut self-titled album – Vika recounts, “We said, ‘Yeah, we love it! Thank you very much, Mark. We’re gonna record it and we’re gonna put it on our record!’”

Vika then expresses how blessed the Bull sisters feel that both of their parents are still with us. Their mum’s about to turn 90, she adds, before inviting us all to the “Tongan feast” they’re throwing in her honour down at Phillip Island. Mr and Mrs Bull also have very specific instructions on “how they’d like to go off into the next life”, we’re told: “They’d both like to be cremated and they’d love to be tossed over the Phillip Island Bridge on a fine spring day with an outgoing tide.” The Parting Song (from Vika & Linda’s Princess Taboo record, released in 1996), which was inspired by their parents’ end-of-life plans, follows and Vika & Linda’s transparent harmonies – sung at equal volume – are spellbinding.

The sisters are so incredibly in sync, but also let their own distinct personalities shine through in their performance. They do so much more than just sing, Vika & Linda totally embody these songs and make every single syllable count. Their take on Feeling Good is showstopping – undisputed best performance of this particular Day On The Green. Linda commences a cappella, giving us a masterclass in melisma. “Beautiful, Linda,” Vika praises before nailing her own designated verse. “Beautiful, Vik,” Linda extols.

“Never. Give. Up” – Vika closes out My Heart Is In The Wrong Place with absolute conviction and we’re struck by the relevance of these words within the Bull sisters’ story. After spending seven years as The Black Sorrows’ backing vocalists, Vika & Linda celebrate 30 years since the release of their debut self-titled album this year (Linda: “Get stuffed! Where did the time go?”). Long may Vika & Linda’s recent upswing in popularity continue! They are absolute powerhouses who deserve worldwide recognition and accolades.

Chris Isaak has been charming our socks off for almost four decades now and is still backed by some of the players from his very first band Silvertone, including bassist Rowland Salley and drummer Kenney Dale Johnson.

One of the most entertaining aspects of this act is their The Shadows-esque guitarography. The unison moves during Speak Of The Devil, which Isaak admits Salley and guitarist Hershel Yatovic have been working particularly hard on, are particularly noteworthy: side-to-side crab shuffles punctuated by a one-legged hop while pointing guitar neck skyward. Later, during Blue Hotel, we’re wowed by their creative take on the box step.   

“We’ve played Paris, we’ve played New York,” Isaak points out, before bringing the LOLs: “It’s nothing until you go to Waurn Ponds… Look at me now, ma!” He then says that based solely on his choice of stage attire – a bright blue embroidered and jewel-encrusted suit – we could be forgiven for assuming he’s a figure skater (not really enough give in the fabric for that though, mate!).

Isaak leaves the stage to wander through the crowd for a bit early on in the set, which falls flat – this only really works when the audience can witness his interactions with fans on big screens.

Wicked Game is the absolute swoonfest we anticipated – he slips so effortlessly into falsetto! – as footage from the steamy accompanying film clip, starring Helena Christensen as Isaak’s love interest, flash up in our mind’s eye in the absence of on-screen visuals.

Wicked Game – Single Edit – Official Music Video

Isaak – who rocks a slick pompadour hairdo – grew up listening to artists like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. After sharing a couple of his career highlights – he “got to be good friends with” Elvis’s guitar player Scotty Moore and also sang with Jerry Lee Lewis – Isaak performs a faithful rendition of Roy Orbison’s Only The Lonely. Earlier, his take on The Big O’s Pretty Woman had us all begging for “mercy”.

Before paying tribute to Elvis with Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, Isaak encourages us to hug/smooch our loved ones.

His dad was a forklift driver and his mum worked in a potato chip factory, but Isaak admits he always dreamed big, hoping “to make a living as a singer” someday. “If you have a dream… follow your dream,” he urges.

Following a costume change, Isaak and co. return to the stage for an encore that kicks off with fan-fave Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing, during which snatches of the James Bond Theme and also Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye) by The Four Seasons are included. Isaak’s elastic vocal range and plaintive vibrato shine (almost) as brightly as that reflective, mirrorball-inspired suit he now sports. He’s still got it, alright! And, furthermore, Isaak really is The King when it comes to humorous stage banter.     

The Mojo Corner
Boy & Bear


Ella Hooper


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