Rockbrat Live Review: Doc Neeson Band, Tuggeranong Festival, Canberra – 26 November, 2011

image (c) RockbratOne week before summer and after months of organising, event organisers are expecting a big turnout to the Tuggeranong Festival in South Canberra, and to top it all off, they have nabbed Doc Neeson, the iconic ex – frontman of The Angels to close festivities. One problem – Canberra has decided to turn on its famed schizophrenic weather. As a result, it rained all day and didn’t let up for Doc’s appearance.  It blew a gale, and the temperature plummeted to around 12 degrees. Punters voted with their feet, with the inclement weather keeping the hordes away. As such, by the time The Doc Neeson Band hit the stage at 7.45, there would only have been about 200 people in attendance. Pathetic. Doc deserves better than that. Along with AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, the Angels are considered legendary in Australian rock n roll – and when The Angels front man is playing a free gig – it’s a no brainer.  Go read Murray Englehardt’s book, ‘Blood Sweat and Beers’ if you want the whole story. Doc turns 65 in January, and from what I’ve heard, he has to keep performing to pay the rent. I’ll reserve judgement on that, for as far as I’m concerned, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to see Doc again. His voice sounded great, distinctive and strong – and he may also have lost a couple of kilos since I last saw him. His band are all young guns, they play all the licks note for note, but they are non descript. As hard as I try, in my mind Doc will always be surrounded by the Brewsters on stage. Anyway, at 7.45 pm, with the rain belting down on the tiny stage, the band hurry on and open with ‘After The Rain’. What a killer tune. Bands like  Great White and Guns’ n’ Roses idolised The Angels, and neither of those bands wrote a song that came close to this. The band played for an hour, with some new Doc solo material (all good) as well as some Angels classics thrown in. Only 3rd song in, the punters at the front with their mullet haircuts, goatees and cans of VB are calling out for ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’. I think their boyfriends were asking for the same tune. Not surprisingly, I see one guy in a hi-vis singlet, and someone else waving an Angels LP above their head. Odd. Then the unthinkable happens – Doc slings a guitar over his shoulder. Yes thankyou Mr. Purist I know he used to play bass in the mid 70s, but he’s one front man I never thought I’d see playing acoustic guitar. It’s like when Jagger does it, totally unnecessary. Anyway, ‘Take A Long Line’, ‘I Ain’t The One’, ‘No Secrets’ and ‘Shadow Boxer’ all sound great, and I was hoping for ‘Face The Day’, but that didn’t happen. I did get ‘Marseille’ though, my favourite Angels tune, so no complaints. ‘With Or Without You’ from the Angels ‘Skin & Bone’ sounded great, before  predictably, the set closes with ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, a tune which for Doc, is his ‘Satisfaction’, it puts bread on the table, though personally, I can do without it. Some of the younguns did not know the ‘No Way, Get f—cked Fu—off chorus, but Micko, Thommo and Robbo sure do and they sing it with gusto. The fireworks finished proceedings – and the rain cleared. Thanks for coming Doc! You can watch a video of ‘I Ain’t the One’ from the show below.

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