Review Scene: Red Hot Summer 2024 – Rochford Estate, Coldstream 17th Feb 2024 by Maryanne Window

Despite less than ideal conditions with  temperatures up towards 35 degrees Celsius, and the air dry and dusty, this was one of the most enjoyable winery shows I’ve been to in a while. The opening act Bachelor Girl more than ably welcomed the crowd with their familiar ‘90s guitar pop most notably, the radio friendly “Buses and Trains” and “Lucky Me” as they settled in and found their picnic spots amid the slivers of shade as protection from the onslaught of the midday sun.

Daryl Braithwaite and his band of merry men hit the summer mark with a selection of hits from his breakthrough solo album “Edge” from 1988 and the follow up “i”from 1990 featuring Australia’s favorite cover song “The Horses”, Daryl embraced the summer theme, his face emblazoned with blue zinc in true Australian fashion. Throwing in the Sherbet classic “Howzat” saw audience members mimicking the likes of Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee with pointed fingers in the air as Braithwaite strutted across the stage with his familiar half mic stand propped against his torso like a guitar.

Noiseworks were up next having reunited in 2016 and strengthened their relevance by writing, recording and releasing new music. The new album “Heart and Soul” was released in 2022 in honor of their late great guitarist Stuart Fraser and stands up next to the old hits that were the musical backbone of the tv classic “E-Street” for the better part of the ‘90s.

The Iconic Icehouse rounded out the Australian portion of the bill fronted by the cornerstone and musical backbone of the band Iva Davies, the set was jam packed with familiar anthems dating back to their debut album “Icehouse” from 1980, the highlights being “Walls”, “Can’t Help Myself” and “We Can Get Together”. The addition of Melbourne singer songwriter and one time Voice contestant Michael Paynter has been a good move for Icehouse as a guitarist and vocalist. His main vocals on “Man of Colours” was a poignant moment of the set as Iva Davies soloed on the oboe.

It was fitting that Icehouse were a feature of this Red Hot Summer lineup with Simple Minds as it was Icehouse who brought Simple Minds out to Australia to join them on their first tour of the country in 1981. Frontman Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill may be the only original members in the 2024 incarnation of Simple Minds but they have maintained the essence of the Simple Minds sound with this current lineup. The sun still had plenty of sting in it by the time Jim Kerr led his band onto the stage but the Scotsman defied the elements and wore his jacket for the entire set. Another fashion fact to note was that Kerr was wearing a shiny black pair of RM Williams boots – further evidence of his affinity with the local rock customs. From the opening song “Waterfront” through all the hits  in their considerable repertoire, Jim Kerr was nimbly floating around the stage. Swooping down on his knees during “Love Song” and leaping forward from one end of the stage to another, Kerr was making connections lyrically, musically and physically. Tapping into memories through song is like unlocking time travel and as they stormed through “Once Upon A Time”, “Glittering Prize” and “Promised You a Miracle”, Simple Minds turned the master key.

Mid way through the set Jim Kerr mused “There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia – it gets a bad rap!” and he was definitely preaching to the choir at this point. The great thing about this festival was the set up. There were no segregated sections of tightly connected plastic chairs preventing the enthusiastic punters from dancing at the front and getting right up close to the bands. Instead, there was a cordoned off no chairs zone allowing those who hadn’t collapsed from heat stroke to connect with the performers on stage.

Belfast Child” with its poignant imagery projected onto the backdrop brought a more somber tone to the evening that was quickly turned around with the set closer that everyone was waiting for “Don’t You Forget About Me” from the Breakfast Club soundtrack that I would say 99% of the crowd would have seen given the reactions. Kerr dispensed with formalities and announced that rather than go through the charade of walking off stage they would launch right into the encore, after all it had been a long hot day for everyone.  Closing out the night with “Alive and Kicking” and “Sanctify Yourself”,  both from their 1985 album “Once Upon a Time”, was the perfect way to round out the evening and send people off into the night. Roll on Red Hot Summer Series 3!

About Maryanne Window 50 Articles
Maryanne is a writer and bass player. You can find her onstage with Monique Brumby.