Treasures flushed out to rock Port City

Treasures flushed out to rock Port City
The Kill Devil Hills on stage at the Navy Club for Hidden Treasures. Picture: Daniel Grant

The clock had not yet struck nine but there was a long line outside the Buffalo Club and the lovely ducks behind the bar at the Navy Club were struggling to keep up.

The sixth annual Hidden Treasures Winter Music Series, which packed five venues along Fremantle’s High Street on Thursday night, should be renamed simply Treasures.

“We don’t have to wait three weeks to pile it on,” quipped local folkster Justin Walshe, dressed in Freo formal (duffel coat, battered fedora) as he introduced the Port City’s boozy rock prince Peter Bibby at the Navy Club.

No, we didn’t. Freo’s music is on the map, whether you’re talking international superstars Tame Impala or national heroes Eskimo Joe.

Both of those bands feature in the 20 Clicks photo exhibition at the Hotel Orient.

Curated by local luminary Bob Gordon, the “survey” of significant Fremantle bands, venues and moments also starred the Triffids, Jam Tarts and Nansing, the Neptunes, Dave Warner, John Butler Trio and Cinema Prague.

Via purposefully shambolic surf, thrash and country rock, Spinning Top signing Bibby and bandmates introduced as Strawberry Pete and Doggy Dave regaled the packed Navy Club with tales of giving a mate the flu before a trip (Goodbye Johnny), the long drive east to “pick up my missus” (Tinned Tuna) and South Australia’s third most populous city (Whyalla).

A stone’s throw down road at the Buffalo Club, acoustic troubadour Carus Thompson was also exploring homegrown themes ranging from Bon Scott to murdered Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati with a guitar and oodles of charm.

His cover of Paul Kelly’s Dumb Things went down like a cold beer on a hot day.

This snap of Eskimo Joe celebrating winning the WA Campus Band Grand Final in 1997 features in 20 Clicks, a photographic survey of Fremantle music for Hidden Treasures. Picture: Toni Wilkinson, (X-Press Magazine Collection).

Hidden Treasures is as much about opening up unusual venues to live music as it is about providing stages for musicians.

It’s also loads of fun.

While the Navy Club was packed to the gills for the Kill Devil Hills’ revisiting of 2004 debut album Heathen Songs, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt packed the dance floor upstairs at the National Hotel with a set ranging from Bowie and Duran Duran to Midnight Oil and Chemical Brothers.

The member for San Cisco has joined fellow politicians, including Scott “DJ S-Ludz” Ludlam, Anthony “DJ Albo” Albanese and Alannah “DJ A-Mac” MacTiernan, in hitting the decks but has yet to announce his nom de flume. Perhaps DJ BeePee? DJ Ice-P?

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt in DJ mode with Hidden Treasures curator Davey Craddock. Picture: Simon Collins

Hidden Treasures continues next Thursday night, with Gunns, Timothy Nelson and Verge Collection among the highlights plus a DJ set from San Cisco’s Jordi Davieson and Josh Biondillo (no pressure, lads).

A solo set from You Am I legend Tim Rogers on July 21 and the Flairz reunion gig on July 28 make the third and fourth instalments well worth the $15 entry to all venues for not-so Hidden Treasures.

Hidden Treasures continues on Thursdays this month.

Brad’s Playlist Hidden Treasures 2016

  1. Daft Punk – Instant Crush
  2. Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning.
  3. Bowie – Rebel Rebel
  4. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the dark
  5. Chemical brothers – Hey Girl Hey Boy
  6. Churches – Recover   
  7. Prince – Raspberry Beret
  8. Duran Duran – Reflex
  9. Bowie – Let’s Dance
  10. Tame Impala – Make it Happen
  11. Wham – Wake me up
  12. Prince – Cream

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

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