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the Pale

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Chris Copping and The Dingoes in Perth, WA • 19 February 2011

Text and pictures by Jane Clare, for BtP

Jane – formerly resident in Bristol, England – sends BtP this report (followed by 23 photographs) from Perth, Western Australia, where she now lives and works:

'As picnickers jostled for position and settled in for ‘An Evening on the Green’ – to the pre-gig soundtrack of The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon – the sun beat down on Sir James Mitchell Park, on the south side of the River Swan, with the city skyline providing a wonderful backdrop.  

'Even at 4.00pm punters were attempting to shelter in the thinnest of shadows to escape Perth’s baking heat. However, those who remained shacked up at home with the air-con until later in the evening certainly missed out on some truly soulful playing and great harmony vocals. 

'The Dingoes first on the bill did not get quite the rapturous applause their performance certainly warranted. The fancy allocated seats unfortunately remained almost empty for the band’s set possibly a result of the $400 tickets which included dinner, with those patrons presumably arriving later. And although Chris Copping later said, ‘Well, you’re biased,’ I do think there were plenty more people who would have enjoyed seeing his band and hearing more than the nine songs they played.

'Our night, part of the Australia-wide series ‘A Day on the Green’, kicked off with Not Worth Fighting For, featuring some fab harmonica; it is the song that also opens their live album Live at Last. The next, Come on Down, was the first of the old classics of the night. The band have reformed after near-on thirty years and are still going strong. In fact front man Broderick Smith enlightened us on their youthfulness, stating ‘Three of us turn 63 this year, and we don’t need Viagra … must have been all that acid.’ Looking around at the crowd I think this comment applied to quite a few others, and despite perhaps bringing the average age of people in attendance down by a few years I inadvertently took my picnic in an Oxfam Fair Trade canvas bag (half heeding Perth-boy Tim Minchin’s advice) thus fitting in without the need for either Viagra or acid. The vocal harmonies in the punchy Sunshine in Your Eyes were used to great effect and the musicians’ apparent effortlessness testified to their years together.

'No Rain, No River featuring Chris Copping on organ – his Nord Electro 2, sounding exactly like a classic Hammond – was a highly appropriate song to be singing in Perth. With the dams here in WA at 30% capacity and having had the lowest rainfall on record this past winter, the lyric ‘How we gonna bring water to this desert?’ rang too true. With the recovery efforts from the dramatic and tragic floods in other parts of the country continuing, Smith commented ironically ‘We’re still trying to stay dry in Victoria and you’re trying to get wet.’ But as the song says, ‘Just because you struggle, doesn’t mean you have to fall.’

'In Boy on the Run we heard some nice mandolin playing by Chris Stockley, but it was the next tune, Try Anyway, that got people up and dancing. The natural rolling pace of the drums was gradually added to by each member of the band, ending up with a full rock sound. In contrast, the next number Way Out West gave us a full country flavour with lovely counterpoint from Chris’s organ, and it’s easy to hear why The Dingoes are ‘credited with being the first Australian band to succeed in transplanting American-influenced blues and country music into an Antipodean context’ .

'The penultimate tune was Smooth Sailing, a bluesy number which made sure the allocated ‘Dance Area’ – indicated with blue spray paint on the grass – was well used. Next up was Damascus Road – a stomping finale with great lap steel guitar.

'After playing with The Dingoes (who name-checked him as being 'from that great band Procol Harum') Chris Copping joined us to watch local trio Diesel, followed by George Thorogood, who was introduced as an ‘International Touring Machine’. He was certainly well-received by the now-growing crowd, but the generic nature of the material left me a little uninspired (‘George Thorogood … he’s a middle-class fake, isn’t he?’ said someone nearby in the audience). Joe Cocker, however, was the man people had really come to see and by 8pm the sun had set leaving a stunning trail of red clouds, and the ‘Evening on the Green’ culminated with this natural entertainer.

'So: many thanks to the ever-genial Chris Copping for the invitation, and for the chance to see a classic Australian band.'

Walking to the gig

Ticket (thanks, Chris!)

The venue awaits in the baking February sun

Beyond the seating area

Taking it literally

The Dingoes' gear on stage. Prof Copping will play the natty red Nord Electro 2, not the Hammond behind

Dingoes on stage (Chris Copping, centre)

Sliding, on the big screen

Another shot of the Dingoes in mid-song

Lead Dingo on the big screen

To see the band (briefly!) in action, click on the photograph above

BtP's correspondent (right)

Jane's partner Nick dutifully tries out the designated dance area

Jane with dancers while the Dingoes play ... this is where the photographs were taken from

Dingoes, between songs

This is now the band looked on the big screen, from the side ...

... and from the front (Copping not in camera, unfortunately)

By now a crowd had gathered ...

 Pink skies over Perth


George Thorogood, small and large

 More cloudscape 

Night has fallen, and Joe Cocker emerges

Order the new Dingoes' album from Amazon UK or from Amazon USA | Listen to compilation clips on mp3 here | More about Copping / Dingoes

Chris Copping's page at BtP

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