If James Baker weren’t already cemented as a Perth rock legend in the eyes of the 350-odd punters who turned out to the Rosemount on Saturday night, by the end of the evening that much was certain. Amongst the gaggle of old guard dredged up to perform old classics in celebration of Baker’s marriage to Catherine Podger, the drummer played behind five acts, as Dave Faulkner playfully introduced him during Le Hoodoo Gurus’ set: “The man of the hour… or two and a half hours, really!”
It takes a certain kind of man to decide to celebrate such a happy occasion by dragging his body through the wringer for two-and-a-half hours, and more power to Baker for doing so: if the extended set took any effort at all it was masterfully hidden behind his trademark fringe. Equally, it’s daunting to watch older and more experienced musicians on the local scene for a change — Spencer P Jones and Greg Dear, both offering short solo sets to open, demonstrated stunning isolated guitar work (with young local “Strawberry” Pete Leveson Gower, veteran of Sonpsilo Circus and The Darling Rangers spotted stage right watching on with moony eyes between spot precision guitar tuning for a handful of bands).
The constantly-shifting line-up led The Painkillers on first, ripping through a punk rock set with crowd favourite Love Cancer hoarded for the end before giving way to The Dubrovniks and Baker’s second set of the night. In the face of “FUCKIN’ RIGHTEOUS!” cheers bassist Boris Sujdovic led humbled and sceptical into Fireball Of Love — and the continued comradery within the band and guitar hero posturing made this set stand out among their peers. Le Hoodoo Gurus followed with classics from the original line-up, sparing the animosity of decades ago for a faithful audience chanting the lyrics.
The night took a weird turn via a short set by Kim Salmon and Spencer P Jones with jagged, messy riffs pushing for space against one another in the void of an empty stage. Proto-punk outfit The Television Addicts (previously The Victims) tore up the crowd next with sharp resurrected renditions of their classics before The Scientists took to the stage, pausing for breath as the band waited for James Baker to join them with Kim Salmon taunting him from behind the mic: “There’s always gotta be one rockstar…” But for that night, at least, he’d earned it.
‘The Scientists, The Television Addicts, Le Hoodoo Gurus, The Dubrovniks, The Painkillers, Spencer P Jones, Greg Dear – Rosemount Hotel’ by Richard Moore. First published by themusic.com.au 10.06.15.