Luckily for the two older little boys many of the crowd this evening were also well above 40, fat and grey - although not always in the same person. They were also there to celebrate, and relive, past excesses at the Trade Union Club and other inner city venues that are sadly no more.
The gig was billed as "Sydney Trade Union Club Revival 1981 - 1988". The STUC was one of the mainstays of the Sydney pub rock scene of the 80s. The STUC was just across the road from our current venue at the Excelsior Hotel on Foveaux Street in Surry Hills.
Grooveyard and The Party Bores supported The Johnnys. The other two band's names sounded familiar but I don't know anything about them other than they sounded alright on the night. During the breaks between the bands dodgy old videos of 80s music shows like Rock Arena were played on the big screen. They played music videos and interviews with some very young and pimply lads from The Johnnys and others. One of the music clips was by a band called the Huxton Creepers who had 3 or 4 hits on the indy scene in the mid eighties. I loved the Creepers and have a copy of their album 12 Days To Paris on vinyl. In the intervening years they never released a CD version of their album. However, Google is your friend. When I got home I googled the Huxton Creepers and lo and behold found a Facebook page for them. Coincidently one of their most recent postings was about an up and coming re-release of 12 Days To Paris on CD. They're only now finalising the bonus tracks to go on the CD. Coincidence? I think not. Nah, seriously it is just a coincidence. Seriously, you want me to spell out how this is just coincidence and not something spooky? Okay. There have been a bunch of 80s revivals recently. Not just this Johnnys show. They've also been going on in Melbourne where the Huxton Creepers come from. The Creepers played a few gigs over the last couple of years and probably decided that even after so many years there is some demand for a CD. In the meantime in Sydney I hear about a Johnnys revival gig and get along. They play 80s music videos and happen to play one of my favourite bands from the era. There are a finite number of indy bands they could have played after all. I wonder why I never got a CD, turn to Google, and the rest is history. See, at best synchronicity. Finally though after 25 years I can get hold of the CD instead of watching grainy old lo-fi videos on Youtube or attempting to play a scratchy old LP. Not that I recall where my turntable is anyway.
Spencer P Jones was sadly missing from The Johnnys line-up tonight. He originally joined the band about a year after they formed. Some purist might argue that he wasn't part of the original line-up anyway but for me The Johnnys always had Spencer as a member. As to why he isn't doing the show tonight? Apparently he is doing some solo gigs around town. I sense a falling out. Who knows?
They didn't play a number of their biggest hits unfortunately. Most notably Buzz Saw Baby and Showdown. Bastards. Otherwise though it was a pretty good set. I don't how these old buggers can still do it after all these years. I reckon the demon drink helps a bit. If you had squinted, or put on the beer goggles, while looking around the room you would swear you were back in 1985. The only giveaways were the size of the bellies and the amount of grey hair. And the lack of smoke. I'm pretty sure we were all a little more leaner, our hair was a touch darker and we were chain smoking a pack of ciggies back in 1985. As a piece of nostalgia the night was superb. Shit, as a piece of entertainment it was superb.
This isn't the first Johnnys revival gig I've been to. A couple of years ago they did a show at The Metro in Sydney. That was a bigger show. Hundreds of punters and the full Johnnys line-up including Spencer P Jones. But the bastards didn't play Buzz Saw Baby then either. They did play Showdown though. After the show the guys from the band were sitting in the bar having a quiet drink and I saw some drunken old fool go up to them and demand to know why they didn't play Buzz Saw Baby. The band claimed they forgot. Yeah right, just like the Stones could forget to play Jumpin' Jack Flash. The drunken old fool harassed them for a little while and then he gushed all over them embarrassingly as well. At the time it seemed like the drunken ol' fool was someone else but I am reliably informed that it may have been me.
The video below was the last song of the night where the "cute good looking" audience was invited to come up on stage for an encore of "You're so cute".