I don’t get to go to live gigs as much as I used to. Obvious pandemic reasons aside, I’m just getting on a bit and can’t really be bothered with all the pushing, shoving, the waiting in lines and extortion at the bar.
But an invitation to see a bunch of West Australian musicians performing live under the one roof, all paying tribute to icon of icons, David Bowie, was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Mind Warp Pavilion 5 was the fifth annual get-together of WA musicians paying tribute to the life and music of David Bowie. Fittingly, the event was held in the flamboyant surrounds of Northbridge nightclub, The Rechabite, and most suitably on the date of January 9, between Bowie’s birthday and the date of his passing.
The show kicked off with a choir consisting of various members from local bands, together delivering a moody version of Five Years – apt since it’s been five years since Bowie’s passing. As I was situated right up the back (avoiding having to push my way to the front), the faces on stage were somewhat of a blur. Apologies for not knowing all the stars of the show.
I did make out music master Bob Gordon, who did a good job in MC-ing the night right from the get-go: just telling all these artists apart from one another is a coup, let alone knowing their own musical histories- and Bob does that well.
Now, I’m a big Bowie fan; infatuated enough to hunt down cover versions from artists around the globe. I adore Perth lad Timothy Nelson’s take on Bowie’s Girl Loves Me (one of his final recordings on the Blackstar album) and have played the song religiously on Perth station, RTRFM. Sadly, I never got to see if Nelson turned up to perform the song last night.
As I understood it, Bowie’s music was going to be tributed to in a chronological order of sorts. I managed to stick around for the period 1969-1974 and for a little of the latter Seventies. But since I had another engagement to get to, I didn’t hear my favourite Bowie track, Ashes to Ashes (which slides in at 1980 on the discography timeline).
Now, pumping out brilliant renditions of Bowie’s music in chronological order is a nice, sacred touch but it did mean not giving the average fan a good taste of all-sorts in any given hour, and Bowie was, after all, a man who championed eclecticism so I would have thought mixing the music up might have been a wiser move.
But to the artistry of it all. There was a general laidback vibe in the room with artists hopping on stage to sing or play their bit, then making their way into the crowd to mingle – even before the applause to their performance had finished. I liked that rare kind of fan/musician camaraderie.
Over the course of the night, various members from Filth Wizard, Tommyhawks and PMX delivered their best takes on bits and bobs of Bowie.
I enjoyed Jake England of The Caballeros bravely fronting The Jean Genie in true rebellious form. It’s a pity the boisterous singer spent half the time writhing around on the floor of the stage (a thing he likes to do) and amid the mosh pit for most of the song as I do think he’s a brilliant showman and would like to have witnessed more of his mad moves (too many rows of peeps in front of me to see what he was getting up to on that dirty floor).
And it was refreshing to hear various members of local bands and even veterans like Tall Tales & True pay tribute to the Starman.
Again, I would have liked to have caught much of the latter-day content, and to have heard Addison Axe’s performance of I’m Afraid Of Americans (a friend says it was amazing), and to have caught the finale of Lazarus which would have been a perfect finish.
Ah well, next year I’ll be sure not to double-book.
Note: This review has been edited since first published, thanks to recent information brought to hand.