[Live Review] YOU AM I

You Am I - credit Melissa Wilson 25

Newcastle Panthers
Friday August 2, 2013 :

You Am I’s latest National tour holds extra significance as they celebrate the reissues of their classic first three albums – Sound As Ever, Hi Fi Way and Hourly Daily. The latter two albums form the basis for this special tour, dubbed the ‘Hi Fi Daily Double tour’, which finds the band playing Hourly Daily and Hi Fi Way in their entirety. It’s become a popular trend for veteran bands from various scenes around the globe to play a classic or definitive album live as a special treat to the fans, and usually to mark a particular occasion or milestone in the band’s career. For You Am I it comes on the back of the excellent reissues and 20 years after releasing their debut album.

Tonight’s show at the Newcastle Panthers club was packed out and brimming with good vibes as the band’s loyal fan-base gathered in droves to catch this anticipated gig. You Am I hit the stage rather promptly, with no support act for the tour, breaking into the delicate strums and orchestral beauty of ‘Hourly Daily’. From here on the band played with a relaxed yet focused demeanour as they ploughed through the album’s versatile tunes. Although it took a few songs to nail the sound just right, the band’s form was top notch from the get-go.

Charismatic frontman Tim Rogers lead the way with great showmanship, mixing rock star flamboyance with his down-to-earth and frequently funny in-between song banter. You Am I played the two albums front to back but in reverse order of their release, with the introspective and poppier angle of Hourly Daily represented first, before plunging into the raw rock-based vitality of Hi Fi Way following a brief intermission.

One of the real drawcards to the concept of playing albums front to back is giving fans the opportunity to not only get a full album experience in the live setting, but to hear deeper album cuts and rarely played live songs. So while the likes of ‘Mr Milk’, ‘Soldiers’, ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Heavy Comfort’ naturally garnered strong reactions, the crowd seemed highly appreciative throughout the set, with more underrated gems, such as ‘Wally’s Raffles’, ‘Dead Letter Chorus’ and ‘Baby Clothes’ going down well.

The second half of the set was livelier, mainly due to the rockier song-writing of Hi Fi Way, yet overall there was really not much to fault across the entire night. The musicianship was flawless and the band’s long term chemistry and infectious energy was matched by the enthusiasm of the crowd. ‘Cathy’s Clown’, ‘Jewels and Bullets’, ‘Purple Sneakers’, ‘Stray’ and ‘Punkarella’ were some of the highlights during a high quality set. You Am I are a class act and they delivered the goods in spades throughout a lengthy and accomplished set of their Aussie rock staples. The second half of the set really hit overdrive as the band rocked out with tremendous energy and appeared to be having the time of their lives.

Capping off the night with their timeless classic, ‘Berlin Chair’, was a fitting way to conclude a fine evening. My only regret was not getting a chance to try a cup of Brew Am I, the band’s special craft beer. Otherwise, it was thumbs up on a great night of live entertainment.

Reviewer: Luke Saunders
Photographer: Melissa Wilson

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