Published on theMusic.com.au, Aug 2018
Pic by Karen Lowe
A quirky instrumental medley of Herman’s Hermits hits ushered a ’60s Brit-rock invasion to the stage, bang on 6pm as the tour’s flyer promised.
Paul Cornwell slid into the surf rock guitar twang of Silhouettes, which vocalist and bassist Geoff Foot bounced around with a charming vocal nostalgia, backed by infectious harmonies before key player Tony Hancox took lead for Can’t You Feel My Heartbeat.
“Hands up all the people who thought we were dead?” Foot jokingly asked.
Staying true to songs’ original arrangements, things were stripped back (one guitar, one bass, keys and drums), with every instrument occupying its own space with clarity as iconic lyrics took focus.
Love Potion No. 9 and Wonderful World found the ideal balance between quirky guitar twang and uplifting vocals steering the mood.
The main man on stage – “keeping the beat for 54 years” – drummer Barry Whitwam left his throne to address the audience, sharing anecdotes of times with Elvis Presley and touring with The Who, segueing into trivia about Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter.
The megahit saw Cornwell wedge a pair of underwear under his guitar bridge, which replicated the short, sharp banjo-like tone the original song had. A song for “the lovers”, the introduction of My Sentimental Friend was met with a collective “aww” as Cornwell’s voice transported punters to a simpler time.
Foot showcased stunning vocal execution in darker hit Jezebel as the band navigated its ebbs and flows in a tight way that only seasoned musicians could, before the title track from the band’s film, Hold On!, had punters synchronised screaming.
With 23 hit single in the ‘60s alone, Herman’s Hermits had a wealth of material to choose from, but it was a medley of covers from the late ’50s/early ’60s – including Poetry In Motion, Dream Lover, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – that highlighted the longevity and power of music as punters sung the lyrics to those around them.
Foot’s remarkable vocals stole the show during Listen People before Whitwam grabbed a mic again to introduce Something Happening; a song he claimed was a fan request and had left the charts 52 years ago. Regardless of its chart history, its catchy chorus had the biggest sing-along of the night.
Pulling things back to the root of the band, Whitwam took over for a memorable drum solo before the band rejoined him for soaring ballad The End Of The World, party tune Sea Cruise and Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell.
The legends then rounded things out with quintessential ’60s Brit-rock classics No Milk Today, I’m Into Something Good, There’s A Kind Of Hush and I’m Henry VIII, highlighting just how historically significant their back catalogue is.