Concert review: You Am I
You Am I in Perth. Picture: Ben O'Shea/ The West Australian

CONCERT
You Am I
Astor Theatre
Saturday, July 13
REVIEW HARVEY RAE


Tim Rogers has made pretty clear his intentions on the Hi Fi Daily Double show. It's not a nostalgia trip for the band but it's fine if it is for you. On Saturday night, You Am I's frontman and an ensemble cast of up to seven additional band members proved why.

You Am I's journey may not have taken them to the stadiums Rogers envisioned but they have grown. And performing the band's two most popular albums - Hi Fi Way (1995) and Hourly, Daily (1996) - in their entirety finally gave the band the budget to produce a live show worthy of their reputation.

Hi Fi Way's second single Jewels and Bullets proved as much. Arguably the night's best track, its conclusion saw second guitarist Davey Lane enter stage right, pick up his guitar and plug in just ahead of the song's raucous final minute. He briefly shook hands with Rogers before the two blazed through the deafening finale.

The crowd's reception was equally loud - as was the singalong to Purple Sneakers. Age may not have wearied our voices but it may have altered our sentiment a little. Instead of our gusto going into the line "For every trouble you've found/There's a drink to losing it drown", the mid-30s crowd sounded more aligned to "Do you need somebody/To feel somebody".

How Much is Enough, of course, closed the set in epic fashion, while just earlier Handwasher provided a haunting highlight that Rogers, alone on stage, used to discuss mental illness and art as therapy.

But not all the highlights were from Hi Fi Way. Hourly Daily provided most of the walk-on parts including a cellist, keyboardist, trumpet and saxophone. The full array of this arsenal was on display during surprise stand-out Tuesday.

Then there was the cello-led Heavy Comfort, played to a backing constellation of stars sparkling behind the band on the visuals, which were excellent all night. And Baby Clothes, that should only be played with horns in tow, was a major rock-out.

The encore was just as exhilarating, with Berlin Chair, Adam's Ribs and the title track from the debut album Sound As Ever, while Rogers played Opportunities "for the nerds".

Still not content, Rogers downed his guitar and showed what a great frontman he'd make without it as the band doused Mose Allison's Young Man Blues in petrol and set it alight.

As the visuals flashed "You Am I" on and off, the scale of the production became apparent. They were finally living the dream, and we were right there with them.

The West Australian

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