[Live] Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes , Xylouris White
Taronga Zoo
4 March 2016

Xylouris White are a duo matched in creativity and eccentricity. Introducing his Cretan lute ahead of himself, George Xylouris’ hypnotising strumming style met in harmony with Jim White of Dirty Three and his dramatic drumming. As the sonic journey snaked from one song to another, it was the perfect wind-down for those who had made the pilgrimage to Taronga Zoo straight from work. With no idea of where the music was leading, they had no choice but to let go and go along for the ride.

Violent Femmes opened with their ultimate crowd-pleaser, ‘Blister In The Sun’. It seemed like the band was just getting the 1983 folk-punk hit out of the way early, until an invitation for a sing-along turned out to be a well seasoned recipe for an instant mosh pit.

As the crowd bopped along to ‘Kiss Off’, the predictable beat and Gordon Gano’s ageless vocals seamlessly led into the recent releases ‘Good For/At Nothing’ and ‘Love Love Love Love Love’ without diminishing the audience’s energy.

Bassist Brian Ritchie was convinced Violent Femmes were “predestined” to play at Taronga on the release date of their first album in 15 years, We Can Do Anything. Referring to the animals featured in the title track, they had been told that the noise restrictions were in place so as not to upset the elephants.

The hits were always going to have a place in the setlist, and instantly became highlights. ‘Country Death Song’, ‘Gimme The Car’ and perhaps the peak of the night, ‘Gone Daddy Gone’, delivered much delight to the loyal fans. But surrounded by the sounds of native animals, it was the instrumental section of ‘Black Girls’ that was the most fitting backdrop, as its dissonant melody mimicked the chaotic sounds of a zoo.

The inevitable encore, ‘Add It Up’, proved it will forever be a crowd favourite. Although the fans were still hooked on the ’80s hits, ‘Memory’ got everyone moving, but it was ‘American Music’ that finished the set with full on dad-dancing.

Tanydd Jaquet
Originally published thebrag.com.au

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