The Saints were groundbreaking in 1976 when they released early punk single (I’m) Stranded. Now they’re not. Led by founder Chris Bailey, the man has recruited a couple of ringers to peddle his current softer approach to rock.

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Review: The Saints
Chris Bailey performs in Fremantle. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

THE SAINTS
Fly By Night
Friday, November 30
REVIEW: MATTHEW HOGAN

The Saints were groundbreaking in 1976 when they released early punk single (I’m) Stranded. Now they’re not. Led by founder Chris Bailey, the man has recruited a couple of ringers to peddle his current softer approach to rock.

Thankfully, the Volcanics were on hand to open proceedings and they reminded us about the inherent dangers of rock’n’roll music. It took a few songs for the crowd to get within 10m of them, and when they did one rambunctious fan was singing along with frontman Johnny Phatouros until security dragged him out.

The singer stopped the show until the punter was let back in, and even when security begrudgingly dragged him in, the singer crushed his tambourines in raw fury as the band closed out their set. It was to be the most punk rock moment of the night.

Maybe security shouldn’t have let Bailey in. Seriously, if you’re going to tour under the name of one of Australia’s most infamous bands, shouldn’t you play the songs that gave you that infamy? Nope.

Bailey has recruited a former member of Thirsty Merc to be his new Ed Kuepper, and now the Saints play predominantly mid-tempo dad-rock tunes.

It was looking as if new songs like the current slow-burning single King of the Sun would be aired early to make way for some classic snotty punk tunes towards the end, but that thought was soon dismissed when Bailey declared he was a “pretentious w...er” as he asked the crowd for a gin and tonic.

He also turned into something of a creep teasing younger fans at the front about a sordid affair he was involved in last time he was in Freo.

Initial advertising of the show promised a horn section, suggesting Know Your Product would be aired, and it was at the end, but in such a fashion it was almost unrecognisable. Just like the Saints were on this night.