On Saturday night, we had the rare opportunity to see Models play. This was only the second Models gig for 2015, the first being five months ago. The venue was a newly re-opened Memo Music Hall in St. Kilda and there was a taste of nostalgia for Andrew, Mark and Sean, who last played together at this venue 35 years ago when Models shot the film clip for their song ‘Two People per Square Kilometer’ which featured on their debut album, ‘AlphaBravoEchoFoxtrotGolf’. The theatre was, at that time, leased to Pacific Films and used as a film studio.
Now, 35 years on… here they are again. This time joined by Ash Davies on drums and playing to a room full of fans who have been nurtured on Models music in its various forms for the best part of four decades.
To kick off proceedings, The Thin White Ukes paid tribute to David Bowie with nothing but their ukuleles and vocal harmonies. The trio is: Betty France (soprano ukulele), Michael Dwyer (resonator ukulele) and Rob Stephens (baritone ukulele). If you are after ‘a harmonious restringing of the songs of David Bowie’ (as their Facebook page says), the Thin White Ukes have it covered (no pun intended).
Next up was the JVG Guitar Method. I can’t really pigeon-hole this band… their set jumped from one genre to another with a bit of disco and a bit of pop and even included a Models song, ‘Pull the Pin’ from Mark Ferrie. The line-up actually features two members of Models, Ash Davies on drums and Mark Ferrie trading in his bass for a guitar. With two members of Models in the line-up, choosing JVG Guitar Method as support on the night was, as Andrew Duffield pointed out, ‘a no-brainer’. And it certainly kept Mark and Ash busy for most of the evening. Vocalist John von Goes (thus the JVG), in a royal blue satin shirt under a pale blue suit that looked like it was part of John Travolta’s wardrobe in Saturday Night Fever, played the audience to perfection, hopping off the stage and on to the floor, playing up to the crowd.
By the time Models hit the stage, the crowd had grown and there was little room to move in front of the stage.
They kicked off with a track from the new, limited edition Memo EP and when Sean asked the audience ‘Do you really wanna rock tonight?’ the answer was a resounding YES! And rock they did!
The set included a good mix of both old and new material, with classic Models ala ‘Two Cabs’ and Local and/or General’ with a generous helping of tracks from both their latest release and their previous EP, GTK.
Paying homage to friends and former band mates who have passed has become intrinsically woven into Models’ shows of late and this set included a nod to the late Peter Lillee, with ‘Drive Thru Love’, a track from their GTK EP and written by Lillee and a tribute to the band’s original drummer, Janis Freidenfelds (aka Johnny Crash) who passed away last year, with his ‘Uncontrollable Boy’ and, in remembrance of late friend and former bass player, James Freud, ‘Out of Mind, Out of Sight’. As Sean would say, ‘Roll over James Freud.’
And rounding off the set with Andrew Duffield’s quirky ‘That Guy’ which was rerecorded recently for the band’s latest EP.
The guys returned for one encore, Atlantic Romantic but despite the loud and persistent demands for MORE, MORE, MORE, a local noise curfew put an abrupt end to the night’s entertainment, leaving the crowd hungry for another dose of Models. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait quite so long for the next one.
The set list, for those who are interested, was:
Really Wanna Rock
Local and/or General
Two Cabs to the Toucan
That’s All There Is
Drive Thru Love
Nothin’ On the Wire
79 A.D./ I Hear Motion
Man of Action
Out of Mind, Out of Sight