To quote every second Jet song: Yeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!
Last night Jet and the Vines played the second show of their Get Reborn tour, and the first of two Sydney shows.
While The Vines never officially split up, having released seven albums since 2002, the core of the band exploded in 2004 when Patrick Matthews walked off the stage during a gig at the Annandale Hotel, calmly hopped into a taxi, and never came back.
Now it’s 2018, and Matthews is back in the fold, as are “classic era” members Hamish Rosser and Ryan Griffiths, who both left seven years ago, and god damn if it doesn’t feel like 2004 again.
Keeping with this theme, the band stuck with songs from their first two records, blasting through the likes of ‘1969’, ‘Highly Evolved’, ‘Ride’ and a raucous, rough version of Winning Days with barely a breathe between.
Craig Nicholls was as delightfully unhinged as ever, see-sawing between moments of uncontrolled chaos and unmistakable brilliance. If you want to tell which parts of a Vines gig are off-book, watch Patrick Matthews. If he is staring at Craig, desperately trying to make eye contact to get a sense of where things are going as the singer yulps and flails around, then you are seeing unscripted Vines. Which is the best Vines. Watch their infamous Letterman performance to see what I mean.
(A sidenote: Patrick Matthews is Australia’s most underrated bass player, and also has the golden touch. Upon leaving The Vines after their two-album purple patch, he joined Youth Group, who immediately scored a #1 single. In short: If Patrick Matthews wants to join your band, let him!)
In keeping with the shared suspension of time, the eight members of both bands look remarkably youthful. After Craig drained the last strains of feedback from his guitar, Jet hit the stage looking and sounding every bit the stadium-ready world-dominating rock band they once were.
The band played their debut album in full, in order, and the songs still pack the same punch they always did. If you were unaware of the album or its track order, you could easily assume this was a greatest hits set compiled over decades. In fact one audience member did just that, requesting Shaka Rock single ‘Seventeen’ at one point.
“I don’t think you understand what we’re doing here”, joked Nic Cester – although after the album proper they acquiesced, playing ‘Seventeen’ alongside a scattered number of singles and deep cuts (including ‘Hey Kids’ which is secretly a top five Jet song despite being a B-side. Given Jet’s obvious reverence to rock’s back page, relegating such a great song to a B-side can’t have been an oversight).
For all the yeeaaaahhhs, stadium-sized drum fills, and cold hard bitches, it was the album closer ‘Timothy’ that packed the night’s biggest emotional punch. A deeply personal song about guitarist Cam Muncey’s brother, who died a few months after being born, the band never played it live during the original touring cycle for the album. Cester once referred to it as “a taboo song”, and it would not have been surprising if they omitted it last night.
Luckily they didn’t, and it provided a haunting note on which to send off the album – still the band’s finest achievement.
Hopefully we will hear new music from both bands before too long, but if this turns out to be the final hurrah, it’s a triumphant note to end on, and a hell of an achievement. Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh!!!!