Review Scene: Masters Apprentices 65, Corner Hotel, Friday 1st September 2017

Photo by Andrew Batrouney
Photo by Andrew Batrouney

Masters Apprentices 65: life in the old dog.

Part of the original Adelaide line-up of the Masters Apprentices patched up with some wonderful new musicians took the audience on a 50 year journey on Friday night at the Corner Hotel.

The performance was partly a tribute to Jim Keays (often referenced), as well as a showcase of the early musical influences and renditions of their great hits – some of the Chess Records catalogue. On the Spinal Tap register of 11, this music wasn’t as loud (about a 3), but it was sharp. The driving bass and drums laid the foundation for some great keyboard and guitar work in song after song or hit after hit.

With a song book that transported us back to the late 60s, the set opened with ‘Undecided’ and was quickly followed by ‘Living in a Child’s Dream’. The 300 strong audience was mesmerised. They were reliving their youth. But now, the hair is thinner, the waists a little thicker and the jeans don’t quite sit as snugly. Yet, in their mind, they were in their early twenties and the Masters were at their peak. Mick Bower’s jokes about being allowed out of the nursing home were too close for comfort for some audience members. Nonetheless, there was a wise, nodding, silent appreciation of hit after hit.  The audience was singing with misty eyes to ‘Wars or Hands of Time’, ‘Because I Love You’ and finally, in an emotional release, ‘Turn Up your Radio’ ended the 2 hour set.

Photo by Andrew Batrouney

The Melbourne line-up of the band was fronted by original members Mick Bower and Brian Vaughton (Gavin Webb and Rick Morrison were unable to make the trip). These days the band is held together and energised by former SA Jim Keays Band members guitarist Rob Pippan, additional vocalists, Ian Politis, the soaring Nanette Van Ruiten and Matt MacNamee (second kit) and vocalist Craig Holden.

It was a wistful experience to look back on a 50 year slice of Australian musical history. The Masters Apprentices’ hits were being passed on to a new generation. And the iconic songs still sounded as good and pure as they initially did. After all, you don’t graffiti a da Vinci painting.

Review By Andrew Batrouney


  1. Great review Andrew. I believe the bass player was John Bywaters, original bass player for THE TWILIGHTS and a heck of nice guy.

  2. A very honest review by someone who understands the scene. Rick Morrison was replaced by Rick Harrison who played with the early Masters Apprentices in the late sixties.

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