• Mark Fraser

Machinations & GANGgajang. Narrabeen RSL January 18, 2019

Cal- GANGgajang

Opening with a showing of the retro surf flick Mad Wax, the GANGgajang surf hype has pulled a fair crowd to the old Narra RSL tonight.

And amidst the neighbours trying to shut the place down over noise restrictions, it’s a pretty good sign of the support for local live music.

With a touch of Beatles theatrics...Cal and his crew launch straight into their current single Surfing Round the World…a cruisy reggae-ish surf ditty, before Callagan’s raspy vox take us back to the mid 80s of House of Cards and the first single  Gimme Some loving ... and they’re getting plenty of that back from tonight’s crowd.

Snappy polished sounds with more than occasional hints of early Riptides... ah those drunken days circa 1979 at the San Miguel…

Initiation from the Mad Wax soundtrack…To the North’s tales off life in QLD, stories of burning cane... and some chopstick keyboards to boot.

Circles in the Sand’s classic GANGgajang beat, a la Australiana, showcases the indigenous nod that flows through a lot of the G sounds.

Cal wanders to side of stage and into the crowd for some selfies. A true showman.  Shadow of Your Love keeps the surf soundtrack thing happening ahead of the tribute to members’ earlier bands, with a medley of Yothu Yindi, Angels and Riptides classics. Giver of Life’s punchy reggae stab…Treaty…No Secrets…very cool … finishing with the obligatory Sounds of Then. Cal on didge. Crowd singalong.

The encore sees an acoustic acapella tribute to fellow Oz artists…Wide open Road..Almost With You..Streets of your Town...Stranded...Great Southern Land ... To her door... My Island .Home..  Ya gotta love the nods and appreciation for all things Australian.  

Final song is the first Cal ever wrote and One of my all time faves…The Riptides’ Sunset strip.  Awesome piece of surf tinged guitar pop … takes me straight back to 1980. And having never really been a GANGgajang fan, tonight my mind has completely  changed. The power of live music! One killer set.


Machinations rip into it with Machinations of Dance’s electro groove…Freddie still pumping out the moves. Nero smashing that bass, Tim Doyle still the master of dance guitar and a new drummer 30 years in the making.

The fkn awesome drug that is 1980’s Average Inadequacy completely drills into your senses and if it aint the greatest electro dance pop anthem ever written, I dunno what is. A stab at the complaining anti-noise neighbours and its into Jack’s “take it back Jack”s total trippy maniacy...”Id like to taste some 1960s LSD”.

Suitably primed, You Got me Going Again’s... lazy drill keeps it sweaty, and I have to say at this stage, the mighty Mach’s kick butt!!

Nero’s chunkachunk bass and those and infectious rhythms…snappy backbeat… quirky guitar and just enough in the electronic sample stakes to give that slight synth pop edge. 

Do it To You’s undeniable 80s ilk, Execution of Love’s electro funk tinged hammer head, Cars and Planes’ swirly curved popestry.

My Heart’s On Fire’s space pop… fretless bass triporama.


A short walk off, and we know there’s more. And it’s Pressure Sway’s bleeding dance throes that begin to wrap up the tail end so beautifully, ahead of the equally endearing No Say In It’s kickshit final piece of pop awe. 

11.30 and they’re given the signal. Noise laws suck. Great night!

Mark Fraser- redbackrock.com 

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