The enduring power of music shines through at Double J's 90s party
Double J has gone full 90s throughout June, and the love of the decade hit a special kind of peak on Saturday night. Two hundred keen 90s lovers joined us for an intimate but lively celebration of the decade in music at Sydney’s newly reopened Lansdowne Hotel.
The 90s jams struck revellers before they’d even hit the top of the stairs, thanks to supreme selections from guest DJs Ella and Jesse Hooper, and our own Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe.
The Killing Heidi siblings were on double duty, kicking off the live music with a short and sweet acoustic set.
They opened with Deadstar’s ‘Deeper Water’ and the crowd sang along from the very first line. It mightn’t be the first track that springs to mind when you think of 90s classics, but this response proved that it’s enduring.
The band’s second inspired choice is Frente’s ‘Labour Of Love’, and Ella Hooper proved her performing prowess as she assuredly assumed the role of the great Angie Hart.
Then came the band’s two big 90s hits, ‘Weir’ and ‘Mascara’. Both might have only just snuck into the 90s, but they are packed with so many musical reference points from that time.
Headliners You Am I wanted us to remember that nostalgia isn’t for everyone. The opening of their set seemed in bald-faced opposition to the very nature of a party celebrating the 90s.
“As far as I’m concerned, we only exist on June 24, 2017,” frontman Tim Rogers declared, before launching into 2008’s ‘Frightfully Moderne’, with its particularly apt chorus of ‘Ain’t seen the best of us yet’.
If the intention was to antagonise, it was a glorious failure. But it almost certainly wasn’t.
It’s redundant to tell you that the band were in scintillating form – when are they not? – but in quarters as close as the 200 capacity Lansdowne Hotel, a more intense energy abounded.
Gems like Dress Me Slowly’s ‘Satisfied Mind’ and ‘Get Up’, Deliverance’s ‘Who Put The Devil In You’, and Convicts’ ‘Friends Like You’ served as strong reminders of the band’s glorious post-90s catalogue.
But, given the theme of the night, it’s no surprise that 90s gems like ‘Jewels and Bullets’, ‘Cathy’s Clown’ and ‘Junk’ got the biggest response. While they might remind us of the 90s, fact is they’re just great rock’n’roll songs and great rock’n’roll songs are timeless.
So far, it just sounds like another very good You Am I gig. But the band, with their friend Jebediah frontman Kevin Mitchell, had something extra special up their sleeve.
Mitchell joined the band for a spirited, slightly shambolic take on Regurgitator’s ‘I Sucked A Lot Of Cock To Get Where I Am’ and an earthshaking rendition of Tumbleweed’s ‘Sundial’ that the lads from The Gong would’ve been proud of.
But nothing topped the finale. Mitchell stepped to the front of the stage to tackle ‘Berlin Chair’, our favourite Australian song of the 90s, and he nailed the song to the wall.
It takes a lot to out-frontman Tim Rogers, but with that band behind him and that glorious material to work with, Mitchell was in full command. There was a boyish excitement to his performance, which manifested in an energetic and impassioned take on the track, breathing yet more new life into a song that refuses to get stale.
Going back to the 90s – even if only for a night, or a month – is a lot of fun. But the real take away from this party is that great music is enduring, no matter when it was released.