Paul Stewart brought the Painters and Dockers and a new liver to The Gov (16 April).
Recent research has shown that music is profoundly linked to memories. For example, elderly patients with dementia emerge from the fog when they are played tunes from their youth.
A similar phenomena occurred at The Gov when '80s punk rockers Painters and Dockers strummed the opening riff of their single ‘Kill Kill Kill’. Silver foxes who had sat languidly sipping red wine as the support acts played were suddenly jolted into life, brushing the dust off dance moves that hadn’t been seen for 20 years.Image © Erin Eustace
It was like Frankenstein animating his monster with lightning or a dead frog being zapped with jumper leads. Two young girls giggled hysterically as they watched their mum losing her shit to the sounds of earlier days. A lady who had danced on stage to the Dockers when she was 17 did so again this night. The Gov was converted into a giant Hot Tub Time Machine.Click here for more photos.
It was clear that the band came from a time before public liability insurance, as they regularly invited crowd members onto the stage, bringing some unforgettable highlights. A chorus of women sang backing vocals on the track ‘All Men Are Bastards Except Me!’ while a festively plump legend gyrated in disturbingly-complete nudity during the song ‘Nude School’. This guy didn’t just attend Nude School, he graduated with first class honours in public exhibitionism. Streaking isn’t an appropriate term, as that implies that he only dashed on and off. He was there for the entire song and even bowed at the end!
While this was all in good fun, it was simply blind luck that a few blotto fans avoided damaging life, limb and electrical equipment as they repeatedly staggered on and off the stage. Times have changed.
This was also evident when the band played the song ‘I Know Better Queens Than That’; since that song’s release, gay rights have advanced drastically while attitudes to an Australian republic have regressed. Given this, the song felt like an anachronism.
Other songs, though, like ‘Die Yuppie Die’ and ‘Eat Shit Die’ touched on such universal and primal themes that they touched a nerve even with the younger fans in the audience.Image © Erin Eustace
Throughout the show, lead singer Paul Stewart repeatedly and proudly displayed the scars from his liver transplant. The band’s performance was so raucous and passionate that it seems that the new organ has done a world of good.
It seems that rock & roll is the secret to never getting old; the Dockers certainly haven’t burnt out yet.Image © Erin Eustace