Live Review: You Am I at The Croxton
Somethingyousaid.com’s Tristan ‘Gorba’ Giblin headed to the opening of new Melbourne venue, The Croxton and got a telling off from Tim Rogers:
Last Thursday night, the 1st of October, I went to see Aussie alt-rock mainstays You Am I, at the recently refurbished Croxton in Thornbury. I’ve been a moderate You Am I fan for close to twenty years. After enjoying some of their earlier tracks, the first album I listened to it its entirety was 1998’s #4 Record, which had somehow made its way into our communal cd collection at home. Who it belonged to, either my dad or brother I can’t recall, but I do recall not being immediately sold by the initial listens. Yet whenever I was seeking something more easy-listening than the raucous hair-metal nose candy I was numbing my pre-pubescent earholes with, it was always there for me, and like the band itself it soon began to grow on me.
I’d been looking forward to seeing the band at the 2004 Falls Festival at Marion Bay in Tasmania. Some of you might remember that this was the ill-fated performance in which Tim had fair cooked her and couldn’t play even half the set. After an altercation with Missy Higgins, she was forced on stage with The Beautiful Girls to complete the show. Not being a fan of either act I was pretty disappointed. So I couldn’t resist when I was presented with a last minute opportunity to see You Am I, it was a chance to deliver on a decade old expectation. I did a quick read up on the recently reopened Croxton and after learning that, formerly known as The Croc, it had hosted such acts as Bon Scott era AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, INXS and Cold Chisel, I was even more keen to check the band and venue out. My pass entitled me to a plus one, so with my housemate Sporatik in tow the wheels were set in motion.
After a long day that had involved male nudity, stern words and power tools, we settled down for some post-Thursday pre-show brews in the shed listening to some of our favourite You Am I tracks, such as, Berlin Chair, Jewels And Bullets, Jaimme’s Got A Girl, Goddamn and Heavy Heart. Sporatik said to me, “I’m not used to seeing bands like this that you just stand around listening to.” “Stand around?” I rebutted. “Who’ll be standing around? I’ll be jumping around; I’ve waited ten years for this.” He laughed, “You’ll be the only one mate.”
Following an amusing Uber ride (I learnt my lesson after the Cosmic Psychos gig not to trust a cursed taxi driver) during which we convinced our new-to-Australian-shores driver that the Tasmanian Devil was a man-eating carnivore and responsible for between 10-12 deaths each year, we arrived at the venue and promptly walked straight passed it. After reading that The Croc had been one of the premier rock dives of the ‘70s I convinced myself it couldn’t have been the venue with the street-front facing gaming lounge and smoking area packed full of fellas in dress shirts and designer jeans and sheilas who looked like they’d turned up for a job interview. Halfway up the block we realised our gaff and walked back. Outta Brunswick every bouncer compliments your beard, so we were greeted like royalty.
We walked straight into the band room and I gotta say, despite my misgivings on entry to the venue, the band room was a real decent setup, it was seriously spacious, with multiple bars, good lighting and acoustics, and no matter where you stood, a clear, unobstructed view of the stage. I still prefer seeing acts in rooms more akin to a tin a’ sardines, where ya can’t pull ya head outta the pit of the punter next to ya, but when you’re seeing some support acts you have no expectations about, this was a far more comfortable way to do it.
The first act Fraser A Gorman was refreshing to hear, not exactly to my liking but definitely complimented You Am I as part of the line-up. Leaning towards pop-rock in the truest, traditional sense of the word, his sounds gave me a chance to reflect and prepare that I’d earlier denied myself. The following support all the way from Canada, Bahamas, were the definition of easy listening and not in a good way. Thank god I was upright with a VB in my hand or I probably woulda’ fallen asleep!
I took this as an opportunity to chat to some other punters in an attempt to recruit some partylords by the time You Am I had stepped up to the plate. Of all I spoke to none were enjoying the Bahamas set and all had come to see You Am I. Alright, I thought, I’m in good here! After a drawn out sufferance which only increased my expectation the band finally took the stage. The front-man, who often famously proclaimed, “You know what I hate about being in this band? Nothing!” Tim Rogers opened with a bang and I knew I was in for a show. Tim and the band were rocking it moderate to hard and so far as I thought, myself along with them. But by the time they had begun to play Berlin Chair I turned to Sporatik standing next to me, bobbing his head along and he was giving me this ‘I told you so’ look. I looked around and he’d called it. Everyone was just standing around listening, some you couldn’t even tell if they were enjoying themselves. If anything this only strengthened my resolve to indulge in the moment my 17-year-old self had looked forward to, especially during my favourite song. So I went full flight, bumping uglies at the speed of sound. Once again Sporatik had called it; I was the only one mate. Tim waltzed across the stage toward me with a big grin on his face and I’m thinking ‘fuck yeah, ten years in the making.’ When he was in front of me he leant in and said, “Hey mate, calm it down a bit,” and threw me a thumbs up. “Of course Timmy,” I said and reeled it in, then turned to my side to see Sporatik just plain pissing himself.
After the show, we jumped into an Uber for the short ride back to Brunswick. I was thinking of the ten-year lead-up to what Tim had to say to me and feeling pretty sheepish about it, so I turned to the driver and asked him, “Hey mate, have you ever had your heart broken?” He then proceeded me and Sporatik about the horrors of arranged marriage and equally as horrific the fact that he’d been in love with his twelve year old cousin and that she was the one he’d wanted to be with, but he’d been forced into a loveless marriage which had yielded him five children. But he was happy to be in Australia and the fact that he could raise his kids here where they could make their own choices free of societal, cultural and family pressures. So after this informative and borderline moving chat which had put all my personal grievances in perspective, I jumped ship at Albert St, threw a pie in the oven, parked my ass on the couch and fired off a few drunken texts in the expectation of Friday.