You Am I
In A Class Of Their Own
YOU AM I is the buzz. The
first Australian band in 10 years to have two albums debut
at number one. Nine Aria award nominations. Best Group.
Best Album. Best Song. Best Haircuts. Best Impersonation
of Pete Townshend.
The Sydney trio with the slashing '60s
guitar sound is world-class on stage. All 24 songs were
performed with a flailing energy that left gangly singer
Tim Rogers flat on his back in the wings after the
furious 60-minute set -with still two encores to go.
The band also played an under-18s gig
that afternoon. "We're trying to retain the title of
the Hardest Working Band In The Country," panted Rogers
during the encore. "Shaggin', fightin', drinkin' .
. . the whole bit." At 11pm, the sell-out crowd at
the Metro was pushing toward the stage. The audience had
no time for Brisbane support Powderfinger, who left the
stage disappointed. The band had tried their best with their
Pearl Jam-like riffs, but no one danced. No one cared. This
was a You Am I-devoted crowd mostly made up of university
students and the eyebrow-pierced indie set.
Minutes before the band came on stage,
girls were fainting and being carried out by security. Rogers
finally came on stage delivering a Spinal Tap rock salute
- one fist raised in the air - an ironic acknowledgment
of their new-found rock stardom; a bit self-conscious, keen
to play down the hype with garage-band silliness. Opening
with Moon Shines on Trubble, the band unashamedly showed
The Who's Pete Townshend windmill guitar
strokes, Keith Moon's busy drum breaks and the Beatles'
two-at-the-microphone whoo-whoos. Mop tops and all. They
mined their back catalogue to great effect. Heads
were bobbing 30-deep in front of the stage during Cathy's
Clown and Jewels and Bullets, the big hits from 1994's Hi
Fi Way album.
Joined on the Uptight Express tour by
a second guitarist/keyboardist, Greg Hitchcock, the band
played fast and hard. Occasional respite came in the form
of the sad ballad Handwasher and the big singalong Purple
Sneakers. Rogers' inner-suburban stories about taxi drivers,
milktrucks and girls with braces obviously struck a chord
with this crowd, who had the lyrics to the new album down
pat. Unleashing the famous coda to The Who's My Generation
for Flag Fall $1.80, Rogers, bassist Andy Kent and drummer
Russell Hopkinson left the stage in a lather of strobe light
and honest sweat. They came back to top that with their
homage to the previous holders of the Hardest Working Band
title, the Easybeats' She's So Fine. Brilliant.