The Lurkers and Peter Hicks, Merry Muse, Fri 8 Oct, 2010
I don’t think it’s fair of me to discuss the support act, Peter Hicks – as he plays a style of folk that gives the word ‘folk’ a bad name to those of us whose musical tastes were formed in the ‘80’s Joh years in Qld, lurking between temporary night clubs in alley ways, hiding our love of melodic thrash and subversive lyrics from the Fascist Pigs… no, the Fascist Pigs weren’t a band, they were for real – so I won’t.
However, I’m very much into bands that use their stage platform to inform as many people as possible about the many environmental travesties that are constantly occurring around the country and are well ignored by the popular press. This is what The Lurkers do. The only notes I attempted to make was when they were discussing Hazelwood, one of the dirtiest coal fired power plants in the world right here in the la Trobe Valley, Oz (remember, that one that blew up a few years ago?). Initially I missed the name of it, so with a nanosecond’s pause in their information, I stood, put up my hand and asked in my whiniest, wannabe reporter’s voice what the name of it was again. I was hence forth accused of being a public servant… with ASIO!! From there started a brief but jocular repartee that illustrated their comfort in the spontaneous zone. This wasn’t welcomed by one misplacedly over-reverent folky fogey sitting nearby who even uselessly attempted to “sshhh” our fun – I would’ve decked her if she wasn’t in a wheelchair.
I behaved atypically for an ASIO employee, discarding the note-taking as their rhythms drove me to vigorously dance most of their gig, initially alone as unfortunately the Merry Muse rarely attracts youthful [yeah, ok, ok, not me personally] exuberance in the crowd. But between Sydneysiders Mithra Cox on banjo, Nicholas Mueller on double bass and Martin Cubby on guitar, they provide a full, driving sound that made to those of us whose musical tastes were formed in the Joh…etc…melodic thrash…etc, etc, quite blissfully sentimental. The harmonies were delivered finely in tune, but with the enthusiasm of a Jello Biafra, and the “hillbilly bluegrass” was definitely of a subversion of those styles, in the best of unorthodox ways – harmonious yet assertive and energetic.
The gig was rounded off disappointingly. I (possibly mistakenly) interpreted forced reverence in the faces of The Lurkers. Peter Hicks and his much-further-from-the-grave nephew, Connor on fiddle, joined The Lurkers and despite Connor’s relative animation, the choice of song was Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’. Spare me. I’ll say no more in case the organiser throttles me at a b-b-q on Sunday, except to suggest checking out The Lurkers website for some amusing definitions of various forms of the word ‘lurk’: www.lurkers.com.au/