13 June 2019 (gig)
15 June 2019
Two years since their last visit Midnight Oil are back in the UK, bearing songs like arms to denounce the British Empire.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm drawn to this band like a moth to the flame. Apart from the obviously stunning back catalogue it's the way in which it's delivered. You could accuse Midnight Oil of many things but going through the motions is not one of them. Peter Garrett strides the stage, a tiger circling his prey, as forthright and pious as ever. He spits his sermon with a righteous certainty and we love him for it, politics have always had a place in Midnight Oil's music and thats not about to change, possibly quite the reverse.
Tonight the crowd is buoyant as ever, the seated Hammersmith Apollo gives way to the unseated Brixton Academy and there is electricity in the air. The Dead Heart bassline and beat kick in to magnify the moment and we’re off, the crowd in fine voice with the “da do do do do do do do” refrain.
"Evening mates" Peter Garrett’s first words. Then he swoops like an eagle "Interesting time in history..” political comparisons to King Canute, Faulty Towers, & Ricky Jervais ensue. I'm not sure if he's pandering to the substantial Ozzie crowd or just having a jovial swipe at the UK. Maybe the answer lies further back when Diesel and Dust only sold 20,000 copies in the here whilst just across the channel the French devoured 630,000.
The rumbustious 'Don't Wanna Be the One' from their 1981 third album 'Place without a Postcard' follows and it's clear that Midnight Oil have been crafting exceptional songs for a very long time.
The band are generally all in black with Garrett sporting a black and white shirt, apart from drummer Rob Hirst, of course, in sleeveless denim. Everyone chips in, stands firm, the coolness is assured.
'Too Much Sunshine' from the 2002 album 'Capricornia' with its sizzling guitars gets the crowd moving as does 'Stars of Warburton' (where Garret turns his sights to America) and 'King of the Mountain' from 1990's classic 'Blue Sky Mining.
A well chosen set list spans the decades and the bands attention to detail precise as ever. Midnight Oil can burst out into a glittering waterfall of guitars underpinned with a driving bass and when they hit their stride, as they consistently do, it is indeed a joy to behold. 'Blue Sky Mine', 'Beds Are Burning' and the nights closer 'One Country' all stand out tunes in a stand out set. Now in their sixties The Oils show no sign of slowing down and with new material hopefully on the way in 2020 I'm hoping for another Brixton return before too long.
The Dead Heart
Don't Wanna Be the One
Say Your Prayers
Power and the Passion
Too Much Sunshine
Stars of Warburton
King of the Mountain
Only the Strong
Now or Never Land
Blue Sky Mine
Beds Are Burning
Jimmy Sharman's Boxers