Amphlett Lane

By Chris Mineral

Ultra-magnetic, inspiring Divinyls singer Chrissy Amphlett had an electrifying, sultry stage presence.

She was a sassy, dynamic, alluring performer who had the ability to hold the audience in the palm of her hand while, at the same time, exhibit a feisty approach to her band-mates.

She had a Piaf-like ability to make her vocals soar with sensuousness and amazing vulnerability. Countdown lighting technicians would magnify backlit ultra-flare lighting when The Divinyls performed.

In this great rock and roll band Amphlett had a charged, vital, symbiotic relationship with corruscating rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Mark McEntee. Total rifferama – Stones Black and Blue taste, feel and timing. Both swaggering hipswervesway creatures. Singing from the drag city.

Seven-inch single Science Fiction on Chrysalis Records with the B-side I’ll Make You Happy (The Easybeats 1966 song, written by Stevie Wright and George Young) is crucial listening.

Producer Mark Opitz knew that Amphlett was a giga-star and told her so. This is appropriate as The Divinyls are a total easy fever band. Ten outta ten. Stablemates of Royal Trux.

The City of Melbourne recognised Amphlett’s genius and rock goddess status and named a lane after her in the CBD. Amphlett Lane is up near Princess Theatre.

On Wednesday, November 21, Amphlett was a most worthy inductee into The Age Music Victoria Hall of Fame.

She was a trailblazer, a great front person, as brilliant and raffish as Vo Rogue. Total get up and go-ness.

Two songs that encapsulate The Divinyls’ psyche that they would have aced at a Like A Version Excursion session are Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty and Confide In Me by Kylie Minogue. Both McEntee and Amphlett would shine in these songs. Viva Chrissy Amphlett.

Trumpeter Jack Howards’ (Epic Brass, Hunters and Collectors) new album Lightheavyweight is a bright optimistic Köln-infused electronica meets the best of Daly Wilson Big Band pure distillation.

Howard recorded it on the recent Midnight Oil tour where he played trumpet, keyboards and backing vocals. City Lights and Sydney (I really wish that you were here tonight) that features Fiona Lee-Maynard providing supreme vocals are highlights.

In a sense Jack Howard may be approaching Jon Hassell territory. Lightheavyweight is catchy. On vinyl, it is available from all good record stores. Jack Howard is the foundation creature of Epic Brass and their show at Memo Music Hall on October 26 was strong and electrifying.

On stage Howard has a supernova presence and his shows with Nicky Del Rey, are small moments of glory. Sublime.

Camp Copes’ great second album How To Socialise And Make Friends (Poison City Records) should be appearing on critics’ lists for Album of The Year 2018. It is an absolute blinder. Punters should ask Santa to place this in their Christmas stocking.

Camp Cope are Sarah Thompson (drums) Georgia McDonald (vocals, guitar) and Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich (bass guitar). They have released a travelogue video to the song Sagan-Indiana that chronicles their recent successful tour of the USA. YouTube options.

On stage they are forthright, prepared to engage with their audience about pertinent matters such as gender equality, first choice male bands who get priority on festival bills, personal and sexual politics.

The Opener taps into Georgia McDonald’s experiences when she was a solo artist, discovering certain philosophical drives and hierarchies. Telling it like it is, Camp Cope have plenty of aces up their sleeves and tattoos.

Camp Cope will be appearing at The Laneway Festival in February.

One of the standout performances in 2018 was at The Rocksteady Records (Mitchell House, Lonsdale St) Record Store Day concert when a muso called Didirri performed.

Some punters first saw him perform last summer at the Queenscliff Music Festival in the afternoon on a bright sunny day in a small building that resembled a Scout Hall.

Many fine judges were very much taken by the musicianship and song-writing skills on display of this earnest swift Ford Cobra muso. Much merit was given to The Rocksteady Records Store show – a meteor sighted. Measurements EP is available and is the vanguard of this stellar musician.

Picking up where we left off, since then Didirri and his band have completed a successful tour of Europe and they embark for the USA in the first months of 2019.

Didirri will be playing at The Hills Are Alive Festival on March 29.

And congratulations to Baker Boy for being recognised at The Age Music Victoria Awards.

Gigs/ Shows

School of Rock – Her Majesty’s Theatre, December and January.

Sunday Arvos Blues Sessions at Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane – every Sunday arvo.

Living Colour – 170 Russell, December 19.

The Breeders – The Forum Theatre, December 8.

Breaking and Entering – Thursday arvos, 3RRR 102.7.

Soulgroove 66, Pierre Baroni – Saturday arvos 3PBS.

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