Crescent Hotel - Hobart - 20th December 2003
We've come this far, we must go on ....
It has been said that a Hey Mook gig has the frequency of Rocking Horse Sh*t. 2003 has been no exception. It was also year of sadness and stress on the home front. Many a gig has been turned down on the smallest pretext but on this occassion it was never an option. The Mooks played like they had to play. This gig was a catharsis for those who mourned and a much needed night out for those who hungered for Mook gig action. Someone saved their lives tonight.
The Crescent has over the years become the Mooks favourite watering hole with late saturday afternoons becoming an informal meeting time for band members and hangers on. On a single weekend of drinking you are likely to meet up with most people you have ever known including the legion of ex-pats who revisit and indeed, re-inhabit, with great regularity.
The hotel is not in any way set up for rock events and fitting in the now seven peice band was a feat in itself. There is no stage as such meaning the band played on the floor, separated from the audience only by a pair of foldback wedges and mike stands. This, combined with a crowd consisting of family, friends and long time punters made for an intimate occassion. There was nowhere to hide and those witnessing the Mooks for the first time were drawn right into the occassion. This intimacy is very much a Hobart thing which repeated itself more or less at The Roobs gig later on in the week. Here there is little gap between performer and audience and if there is it sucks. The audience here is harder. Rather than slink off if the music is not koscher as one does elsewhere one is impolite and makes one's opinion known. Hobart is no place to escape your past or your roots or hide behind your sunglasses. This place is totally real. Here people dig deep for their thrills.
Hey Mook are a band which has come full circle yet again. From garage band to the brilliant realisation of Accordian Hufcor Doors followed by long lost years of unfufillment and their return in the guise of a Replacementsesque covers band and eventually tonight's manifestation. The addition of Paul Riley on Keyboards brings onto stage the full ensemble that made 2002's acclaimed 'crash into you' and has laid the foundation for the Mooks next long player in 2004.
Proceedings opened with a short solo set from Malcolm Brooks (thanks for the P.A.) with whom Hey Mook guitarist and singer, Tor Fredheim, moonlights in The Doublemen.
The Mook's set consisted of songs from 'crash into you' and many new songs including Memoir's of a drunk and the light hearted Big Gay World. The only remaing link to the Mooks early music was the set closer, the old favourite, a request, Take the skinhead's bowling. Highlight of the night was the appearance of Ian Pearce for a stirring version of Trouble will find you and thanks for your inspiration all those years ago.
In retrospect, a harsh critic would say the music was rough. No doubt the Mooks have suffered somewhat as a live unit by too few recent gigs but proof of the the band's worthiness was in the pudding as punter's danced, drank the bar dry and sang along to the Mook's creations. Come along sweetness brought the house down and amongst many others rightly deserves a place as an Australian classic. Your correspondent can barely remember the rest of the night except a return to reality during a rare version of The Ramone's Blitzkrieg Bop. The Mooks now appear as a band with many options up forward with each player able to perform with relative ease in an almost unshakeable lineup.
Rather than shrink into the irrelevance of an aging band, they have drawn in members of other local bands in what is not only a situation mutually benificial to an artiste's creativity but has morphed into a long standing social institution. In fact, the Mooks are threatening to turn into a multi-generational band and maybe even as a vehicle for various solo projects. A marketer's nightmare that no box can contain. Bring it on I would say.
A punter asked, "How do you manage the Mooks?" "You don't" was the reply. You push, you prod, you get stuck in, your ideas stick or they get ditched, you mock, get mocked but above all you belong. Nothing is better, nothing is best. As of yet, apart from passing gas, the Mooks have had no real interest from any major label or anyone helpful in high places and perhaps they never will. (can we play docks at next years taste?) Maybe the Mooks don't need it. Maybe they are high society. Hail Mook!
Trouble Will Find You