The Break – Violent, Oily, Midnight Femmes

For he that hath, to him shall be given. Mark, 4:25

I’m not suggesting life should be like a game of Monopoly, where the rich get richer and the poor go sulk in the treehouse.  But sometimes the millionaires are just so good.

So it is with the Break.  Those members of Midnight Oil not burdened with federal portfolios have hooked up with Brian Ritchie, of the Violent Femmes.  30-year apprenticeships have got them over the hump, and they make whipping up a frenzy look easy.

They play what they describe as surf rock. It’s toneful, tuneful, manic and repetitive guitar songs. There’s a bit of chanting, but no singing of words per se. (Their old bands had wilful lead singers they didn’t necessarily agree with, so its no surprise that they have formed an instrumental group.)  I saw them play to a diverse crowd, some in skinny jeans, some in RM Williams, some in dream-catcher earrings. Young and old, none were unmoved.

They played with fire and energy that half the acts half their age couldn’t muster.  Drummer Rob Hirst couldn’t hide a maniacal grin, and Brian Ritchie strutted round the stage, wearing bright pink pants and acting every inch the rock star.  (Brian lives in Hobart, where he owns a tea shop and is a japanese flute teacher).

The chemistry was real and you could tell they loved playing these songs.  Drummer Rob Hirst has been quoted as saying “its nice to be flying by the seat of our pants again.” They were in their element, and those millions were the furthest thing from their mind.

Listen to their album (released in about a week) here!

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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

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