• Mark Fraser

Wreckless Eric . Hardys Bay Club. November 17, 2018.

In what’s been a year of retro English artist gigs, Wreckless Eric fits the mould perfectly. 

As a big fan from the late 70s early 80s, it was a no brainer when it was announced he was playing the Coast.  I even gave up a night in the city with Irish pop-punksters Ash, deciding to keep it local on this occasion.

Hardy’s Bay Club itself is tucked away in the bush, just back from the waterfront. A cool piece of yesteryear locked in a time warp of sorts. And that’s its charm.

Watching Eric carrying his guitars in from the carpark, it’s almost out of context.

As for tonight, I’ve ignored the mixed reviews and don’t have any real expectations whatsoever.

Eric does a short sound check and heads back stage for a feed as the turntables pump out  bluesy retro pop to the diverse (if not elderly) local crowd. 

Out he comes and a bit of banter before picking up the acoustic ...” I spent a fortune in pubs... wore a polyester suit...I gazed into a sink full of water the other day when I was stoned...all alooooone”...and it gets a little ragged and I don’t yet know how to take him.

“The fact that it doesnt make any sense doesn’t mean it doesn’t make any sense...and I realised the world was round by listening to a bee gees song.” Yes he’s a bit of a nutter, but it’s that same eccentricity that makes him so endearing.

And then Reconnez Cherie gets it all in synch… awesome delivery and it’s ye Eric  of olde... Mouth organ ..working at the bank counting out the money for no thanks...Hit and Miss Judy...a kind of Dylanesque feel to it tonight ... very cool.

“Been a long time since I’ve been here but we’ve made a lot of records, we just made a conscious effort to keep them secret from you guys in Australia.”

More guitar tuning...Tales of Bowie...and nonsensical thoughts of bludgeoning his Aunty to death.

Gateway To Europe is one of the more recent tracks and still has that Eric pop essence with ravaged guitar and those trademark snotty raggedy vox.

Guitar issues sorted, and then it all lights up again. Unnatural Act, another newbie, plods along and then descends into its own psychedelic frenzy.  

Wow and Flutter goes off on its own guitar fetish... a pure piece of indulgence... “and all your records are shit except for maybe one...”

And so it unravels, an unadulterated mix of indulgence and nostalgia as he calls the Keno numbers from the screen at the back of the room...more inane banter and 40 years of wishing time away sees our man doing a crazy horse type scenario on the acoustic that hasn’t done him any favours tonight... run right out of tears...40 years...

Change of guitar...let’s go electric... “I’m gonna play this tune but I’ll probably fuck it up ...” And off we go on the trippy sound thang again...as the neighbour heads out onto the deck to smoke himself to death... 

I just wanna hear the hits I hear someone say.

And so we do, as Whole Wide World comes into play...and tonight’s delivery is a fkn corker. Kills it! That’s what we came for.

“Libtards... republicans...” and some nonsensical political banter. More psychedelic guitar noise fest with FX overload...And that’s probably what pissed off some people. 

As for this tainted hack... hey I can appreciate the inherent experimental talent and respect the past... that says it all really.

The moving throes of Have Great Day with its lyrical nod to Chuck Berry  and Velvet Underground brings it full circle and I think it’s in the last minute that I get it. Bravo you old English sod. A live concept album of sorts? Maybe.

In summary... 90 minutes of beautifully, eccentric (sometimes over-indulgent) irreverence, peppered with a few classic pop gems from the past.

Mark Fraser 


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