A cooler blend of culture

Mondo Rock still rock it live

To this day, whenever I hear a Mondo Rock song from their well-selling album ‘Chemistry’, I’m reminded of hot summer days down at Scarborough Beach and, for some reason, school camping in Rottnest. Of course, the song that echoes the most is ‘Come Said The Boy’, and maybe it had something do with its release timing with my own coming of age (ie: those difficult days of puberty, only made easier knowing that your mates were going through the same changes, too). Anyways, I digress.

‘Chemistry’ is one of the better albums of its year of release (1981), possibly even that decade. It’s right up there with Icehouse’s ‘Flowers’,  INXS’s ‘Shabooh Shoobah’, and Australian Crawl’s ‘Sirocco’, all released around the same time.

It’s no surprise that songs from it still rotate on adult contemporary radio (read: any station with ‘Mix’ in its positioning statement). And it’s no wonder the band have sold pretty well for this, their ‘33 1/3’ Tour.

The name of the tour comes from the idea of the ol’ 33 1/3 records we folks used to listen to music on, and coincides with the 33-and-a-third year anniversary of the album’s release. Clever idea, and here’s hoping more artists of that era make the most of such an anniversary.

Mondo Rock played a pretty tight set at Sunday night’s gig at The Regal in Subiaco, changing the structure of some songs to surprise fans as well as appease themselves, I suppose (after all, they’ve probably played a lot of the same songs for corporate gigs in recent years and appreciate a bit of a change). The longer opening to the song ‘Chemistry’ itself, for example, was a nice touch. And the change in octave in lead singer Ross Wilson’s voice on a few of the tunes lent them a fresher texture.

But as Wilson himself admitted after delivering the album track ‘Popular View’, “What were we on back in those days?” the lyrics to some of Mondo’s tracks do appear to have dated. In fact, during the ‘lesser-known’ tracks with ‘out-there’ concepts, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the audience was secretly hoping the band would cut these short and just get to the hits.

That said, when the boys delivered their more popular tunes, the applause was huge. Highlights include ‘Cool World’, ‘Summer Of 81’ and their big schmaltzy number ‘State Of The Heart’ (still the far better version of this song than Rick Springfield’s diluted interpretation).

One thing we certainly could have done without is Wilson’s, er, sexy moves. Okay, so a hip swivel a la Elvis is more than welcome from the man who also brought us the ‘Eagle Rock’ (in his Daddy Cool guise) but seeing him thrust his pelvis for the fourth time was a bit much (like watching your uncle twerk, really).

All up, this was a pretty good gig. Now, if the guys leave out the non-single tracks, and cut back on the pelvic movements, we might even consider hiring ’em for an office party some time.



Mondo Rock next bring their 33 1/3 concerts to the State Theatre in Sydney on Friday 27 June and the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, Melbourne on Saturday 28 June. Tickets are available through www.ticketmaster.com.au.








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