Anyone who witnessed Hunters & Collectors in their heyday can attest to the primal beats and rock n’ roll authenticity they delivered night after night in pubs and rooms around Australia. Steamy gigs packed like sardines while punters stood spilling and swilling beers with their mates made for the backdrop to many gigs performed by the iconic stalwarts of rock.
Selina’s in Coogee would have been the fitting venue for this raucous reunion, however the Enmore Theatre, with its larger capacity, was the chosen host. With beers and mixed drinks in their hands, the sold-out crowd were transfixed while awaiting the arrival of ‘The Hunnas’.
Kicking off with their 1982 hit ‘Talking To A Stranger’ made for a fitting and mesmerising start. Mark Seymour was in fine vocal form and the sound, although a bit too loud to start with, settled down as the night progressed.
‘Blind Eye’ was recognised by the throng of fans as soon as John Archer hit that memorable bassline. Anthems don’t come any bigger than this one, and it was clear that the punters were ready to stretch their own vocal chords. Collective grins and pumping fists were a joy to witness.
Jumping between rock n’ roll moments such as ‘Inside A Fireball’ and ‘Crime Of Passion’ proved that the band have not lost a step in the 15 years that they had been on hiatus. In fact, the ‘Horns Of Contempt’ have always made Hunters & Collectors more than your average Australian pub rock band.
‘Where Do You Go’ was bright and brassy, while ‘Stuck On You’ showcased Jack Howard’s skills on the trumpet, a beautiful quieter moment among this fairly mammoth set of heavy numbers.
Of course, not every song could be played. For example, ‘Still Hanging ‘Round’ would have been perfectly placed.
The 1986 number ‘Say Goodbye’ was one song that everyone in the room wanted to hear, and they were not disappointed. The tune made for an excellent showcase of every member in the seven-piece band.
Upon looking around, old friends seemed to be reliving their past. Parents had their offsprings in tow to experience the rock icons on their home turf. The joy could also be seen in the energy of the band as they delivered ‘When The River Runs Dry’, ‘Do You See What I See’, and ‘I Believe’, which made for a great trio. In particular, ‘I Believe’, their Ray Charles cover, was about as funky as the horn and rhythm section get in this rock-drenched band.
Of course, a concert by the band would not be complete without the biggest singalong of the night, ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’.
Joining the band on stage for the encore of The Saints’ 1978 song ‘Know Your Product’ was guitarist Jim Mogine from Midnight Oil and the very tall and gangly former politician, Peter Garrett. It was a moment that saw the entire ensemble rock out, with Garrett doing his best frontman-flailing while he traded vocals with Seymour. It was four minutes of high-energy rock n’ roll that left everyone satisfied.
After many years between gigs, it is hard to believe that Hunters & Collectors have left it so long to make this tour happen. If this show was anything to go by, the band definitely still have the fire in their collective belly.