Rips & Riffs review
1st Annual Australian Guitar Festival, November 2007
IT’S hard to tell where the programmers’ heads were at with this concert, billed as A Celebration of Australian Surf Music.
Only 1960s headliners The Atlantics seemed to fit the bill, finally bringing some twanging electric guitars to the stage.
Guitarist Jim Skiathitis shredded his way up and down the fretboard and Martin Cilia worked the whammy bar overtime while drummer Peter Hood kept beats rolling like waves on a beach. The Atlantics also covered a lost gem, Midnight Oil’s instrumental Wedding Cake Island, while their trademark hit Bombora sounded like the cavalry arriving to save the day – in more ways than one.
Otherwise, only opening act Dan Rumour’s band came close to a tremelo-laden surf sound, although it was driven more by keyboard than guitar, and soon gave way to American soul.
Surfer Beau Young might have sung about “waves of change” but sounded more country-folk, backed by Kerryn Tolhurst’s slide guitar, while acoustic strummer Matt Walker and drummer Ashley Davies’ improvisations would have been more at home at Womadelaide.
Richard Clapton offered a scant two unplugged songs, while the Pigram Brothers also played folksy acoustic arrangements. For those wanting a surfin’ safari, the chilly night was pretty much a wipeout.