Audience: 18 and over
125 Swanston St, Melbourne
VIC, 3000, Australia.
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The first thing to note about tonight's show is that Melbourne’s Hi-Fi Bar has expanded its range of beers to include Cascade Pale Ale. It’s still marginally overpriced, but at least we won’t be condemned to a night of Toohey’s New. Things are already looking positive.
We grab a handful of stubbies and head down toward the stage where Kim Salmon is holding court. Clad in a black t-shirt emblazoned with his trademark fish motif (the design you still see occasionally featured on the rear of cars owned by proud Christians), Salmon is backed by former Ripe drummer Mike Stranges.
Salmon opens with ‘Cheap and Nasty’, a song written originally during his days as a snotty young punk in Perth, and resuscitated in recent times in Salmon’s solo and group sets. Thirty years on, it still packs a punch. Despite the accolades regularly bestowed upon his artistic catalogue, you still get the feeling Salmon is fighting the original punk battles with the same passion of yore.
‘Pearls Before Swine’, Salmon’s ode to his days kicking down hotel room doors as part of the Beasts of Bourbon, follows next, this time devoid of the introductory contextual remarks that he’s prone to offering. By the time Salmon strums the familiar chords to The Scientists’ ‘Frantic Romantic’, the crowd has begun to respond. Salmon dips back further into his past and imbues Dee Dee Ramone’s ‘Chinese Rocks’ with all the passion and intensity an earnest junkie reserves for the finest illicit opiate imported from foreign lands. From there it’s a short step to ‘Pissed On Another Planet’, and you can see the musicological connection straight through the veins of The Heartbreakers into the irreverent alcoholic obsession of the original Scientists.
There’s a few unfamiliar tunes thrown in – we agree they must be new tracks – and some pounding repentance courtesy of ‘Shine Some Darkness’. Salmon smiles politely at the crowd, pays tribute to Stranges and launches into ‘We Had Love’. Somewhere in the midst of the grinding chords there’s a subtle change in tempo and melody, barely comprehensible to the average gig ravaged ear. Within moments all we can hear is the three-chord juvenile delinquent punk of The Stooges’ ‘Loose’, and it’s all good. Very, very good.
by Patrick Emery