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Review: You Am I went above and beyond with their tribute to Spinal Tap

★★★★★

Walking into The Corner Hotel’s bandroom, view of the stage is almost entirely obstructed by a comically large devil’s head which barely fits inside the venue. It’s clear from this moment that You Am I aren’t half-assing this Spinal Tap tribute. Circumventing the ill-famed This Is Spinal Tap prop reveals a stage decked out as if ready for a stadium gig rather than an intimate venue. 

When the band walk out, it looks as if they’ve been plucked straight from the mockumentary they are here to memorialise; guitarist Davey Lane is rocking a bleached blonde do, thick eyeliner, a Giants jersey and a kilt. As for Tim Rogers well, it’s hard to tell if he is dressing the part or just wearing his usual eccentric get up. 

The Majesty of Tap is the band’s own homage to the cult-comedy film This Is Spinal Tap and despite being part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the band are stone-faced in their portrayal – a further tip of the hat to the self-importance of the fictional British band. Why would You Am I subject themselves to such ludicrousness, you may be wondering. In the words of Mr Rogers, “because no other fuckin’ band would”.

You Am I fervently attack iconic numbers from the film chronologically, highlighting the Spinal Tap’s evolution through the decades. From the poppy singalong ‘Gimme Some Money’ to a blistering rendition of ‘Rock and Roll Nightmare’, the Australian rock legends are packing some serious heat. When Rogers announces they’ll be playing a track from the album Shark Sandwich, the crowd scream “shit sandwich” without missing a beat. It’s moments like this which truly bring the act to life. You Am I nail the offhand humour, from dropping an 18 inch Stonehenge model while playing ‘Stonehenge’, to Lane and bassist Andy Kent using the necks of their guitars to smack Rogers’ wiggling behind during ‘Big Bottom’. Their delivery of the film’s most absurd moments is flawless and their ability to remain straight-faced is downright impressive. 

Not only does the act live up to its namesake in terms of comedic effect, You Am I put on a stellar musical performance to boot. Between Lane proving himself as an absolute shred lord to drummer Rusty Hopkinson giving his kit absolute hell, anyone who hasn’t seen the film could easily find themselves enjoying The Majesty of Tap. 

To live up to a film whose dry, satirical humour is its beating heart is no simple feat, yet You Am I prove triumphant in their portrayal. Rogers sums up the evening perfectly when he states The Majesty of Tap epitomises “the ridiculousness and magic of rock’n’roll”.