Former front-woman for seventies all-girl band trailblazers The Runaways, and star of the movie, ‘Foxes’, Cherie Currie, has finally made it to Australia, a mere forty years since she was goaded by pop Svengali producer Kim Fowley to snarl those immortal Lolita-esque words – ‘Hello daddy, Hello mom – I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!’
Her gig at The Gov in Hindmarsh, Adelaide, on Tuesday night saw her headlining a triple bill of acts who were all featuring female musicians seriously infected with an incurable rockin’ power chord bug.
Opening act, local all-woman band, Babes Are Wolves, set the scene with a short, tight set of punchy tunes driven by an impressively powerful rhythm section and fronted by a singer whose vocal chops reminded me of Ann Wilson the singer from Canadian rock monsters, Heart. Good stuff.
The Babes, hit the stage next and proved why they had some fans who had made the pilgrimage from across the border just to hear them play their fun and frenetic version of riff laden cartoon rock. They describe themselves as a ‘rock and roll gang’ and their tightknit camaraderie shone through as, to the pounding beat of world-record holding drummer, Moni Lashes, they sledgehammered their way through a memorable, albeit (too) short bracket.
Their generous showering of the crowd with free t-shirts and baseball caps should see a significant increase in public displays of band merch-wearing PR volunteers spreading the word – The Babes must be heard!
Currie and her band duly came on stage and played an hour-long show that had the small but surprisingly devoted crowd happily singing along with numbers resurrected from the first two Runaways albums, as well as a smattering of cover versions of songs by David Bowie, Kiss, the Velvet Underground and Nick Gilder and some renditions of newer tunes from last year’s comeback album, ‘Reverie’.
Her touring band, a trio of smiling, energetic, big-haired hard rockers, were clearly having a great night striking classic rock poses at will and playing the big Quatro-esque riffs that Currie’s first band thrived upon. Bass player and songwriting partner, Alex Michael grinned uncontrollably through the whole show, summing up the point of the night: this is not intellectual, cerebral or innovative rock; it is ‘crank up the guitars and have fun’ music – in spades!
On too many occasions, however, Currie’s voice was drowned out by the collective noise the band were conjuring up, and in almost every song she resorted to directing her microphone into the crowd so that her fans could inject the power and energy needed to sing the hook-lines from her hits with the necessary energy and power to rescue them from sounding like instrumentals.
Currie’s banter with the crowd – as it transpires, almost verbatim with the interactions she undertakes on the recordings lifted from her live shows from London last year – clearly indicated that she is having fun on this tour. However, the insistence of one local devotee, a rather pushy middle aged bloke right at the front, on informing her of his lifelong fixation on Cherie, became a bit tiresome, but she kept her professional cool and it certainly was not her fault that the guy couldn’t take a hint and let her get on with her show.
Overall, it was good to hear some of The Runaways tunes live after all this time – and as Currie said to the crowd at one point – ‘Where else are you ever gonna hear ‘em?’
So we all happily embraced versions of ‘Is It Day Or Night’, ‘Queens Of Noise’ and of, course, an euphoric run through of ‘Cherry Bomb’ as if we were being reunited with old friends.
Her heartfelt tribute to her idol, David Bowie, was worth the price of admission alone just to hear a (partial) cover of his ‘Lady Grinning Soul’, a song not too many other people, other than Swedish crooner Ulf Lundell, have ever had the audacity to try and make their own. She segued this in to a great medley which included ‘Rebel Rebel’ and Kiss’s ‘Do You Love Me’.
The crowd would have liked to have Cherie play for longer, but I am sure that all those who attended went away satisfied that their night in the presence of the noise queens – including the local and American candidates for the title – was a night well spent.
Review and photos by Ken Grady