Hoodoo Gurus – Powerstation: March 2, 2023

Hoodoo Gurus are a raucous and riotous rave-up of a rock’n’roll band and they delivered just that to a sold-out Powerstation.

Formed around the tail end of the original punk detonation in 1981 in Sydney, they may have been a little retro Sixties garage band amongst all the new wave and electronic synth dance-trance that came to dominate. But they were fun with lots of sly Ramone’s humour throughout their lyrics.

At their height, they were the band inside the Clash’s Garageland. Back in the garage with my bullshit detector/ Carbon monoxide making sure it’s effective.

Dave Faulkner on guitar, leads the band as the sole founding member from way back in 1981. He was coming from a semi-legendary Perth band, the Manikins. These days he looks like the great Aussie comedian of old, Norman Gunston.

Brad Shepherd on lead guitar was there from first album, Stoneage Romeos. Rick Grossman on bass and Nick Reith drums have been there for about the last ten years.

They start with a combination punch of World of Pain (Chariot of the Gods album 2022) and Tojo (Stoneage Romeos) that spans almost forty years.

Your fist smashes my face/ Fucked up, losing my shit.  Nasty like vintage Alice Cooper. Followed by the power pop tribute to Tracy.

Fast and brutal on their theme song, Be My Guru.

Their core is in the Sixties and they can sound like amphetamine-fuelled Monkees on songs like Another World.

Blam Blam Blam

The show tonight was close to a genuine double-bill with celebrated Kiwi power pop indie rock band Blam Blam Blam playing the curtain-raiser.

We are back to the punk and new wave of New Zealand, the time that was captured in the compilation album Class of ’81.  

Mark Bell on guitar and Tim Mahon bass came from the remnants of punk groups Whizz Kids and the Plague.

Of course, they completed the trinity with multi-instrumentalist Don McGlashan, on lead vocals, drums and euphonium.

He plays that big horn on Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger than Both of Us. New Orleans street band brass matched to new wave guitar.

I remember them from the dawn of the Eighties. University gigs, slam dancing and the Springbok tour. Prime Minister Muldoon was losing the plot, but his wage and price freeze helped us students living in grungy flats.

There Is No Depression In New Zealand was a hit, and played as an anthem on those marches when we went toe to toe with the police squads and the long batons. A stadium chanter tonight, the drums come thundering over the top of the trenches. Talkin’ World War Three!

Got To Be Guilty sounds like chicken-scratch guitar matched with some Bo Diddley rhythm. So it has a punk reggae feel.

Luxury Length is driven by trains-on-the-track drum beats and adds in angular Captain Beefheart accents.

They sound better than I remember, with the guitar firing off sonic squalls as well as ringing jangles.

Like the headliners, the Blams are having fun, being long past the hope I die before I get old  trope of Sid Vicious and er…. The Who.

Hoodoo Gurus

Hayride to Hell. There is a healthy amount of grunge rockabilly in their sound. Maybe the Cramps grafted with the Fleshtones.

Middle of the Land, off Blow Your Cool nicks some of the riffs from Boyce and Hart’s classic of garage and frat rock, Stepping Stone. Never mind the bollocks, here’s the Monkee Pistols.

My Girl is the closest to Sixties power pop of the great American groups in the wake of the British Invasion.

Leilani is a highlight. Tribal rhythms and jungle boogie with rockabilly riffs. They stretch out on this with great guitar squalls.

Artillery and automatic gunfire across songs like Come Anytime, Miss Freelove ’69 and Kamikaze Pilot.

They return for some encores and turn up the riotous heat on Axe Grinder and What’s My Scene. The audience is all hopped up and ready to go, and it closes out on an appropriate blitzkrieg bop.

I was hoping for Zanzibar, a cult favourite for old times sake. The Hoodoo Gurus were all killer no filler for the night.

Rev Orange Peel

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski

Hoodoo Gurus: 

Blam! Blam! Blam!: