ICEHOUSE flooded fans back to the ’80s with a rock’n’roll masterclass

ICEHOUSE flooded fans back to the ’80s with a rock’n’roll masterclass

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Words by Sose Fuamoli
Pics by Bandanna Photography

Performing all the classics and more.

The Melbourne Zoo Twilights series has long held a great reputation amongst music fans for some time now. Through a great setting, solid programming, prompt start/end times, the series has everything you could want for summer nights spent enjoying live music and contributing to the Zoo’s conservation efforts. This year, proceeds from the series are going towards the Mountain Pygmy-possum; the tiny animals were already at risk but as a result of the bushfires, they’re in more trouble than ever before.

Arriving at the Zoo on Sunday, vibes were already at a good level. The sounds of Melbourne indie institution Even filtered out from the stage, already in full swing by about 7pm. The band, led by renowned frontman Ash Naylor, perfectly set the stage for the headliners, delivering a set packed with career favourites and highlights for long-time fans. Scanning the crowd as the sun began to set, picnic rugs were rolled up and hampers were packed away – the crowd was ready for the main event.

A band like Icehouse resonates with Australian music fans of all ages. More than just ‘Electric Blue’, the Sydney group have been responsible for some of the country’s most infectious and diverse pop music at the tail-end of the ’70s, through to the ’80s. Iva Davies’ songwriting has been so clever over the years, while his delivery – evoking Bowie to Talking Heads at times – sits in the highest echelon. 

Taking to the Melbourne Zoo stage, Icehouse proved to be dynamic as ever. Opening with ‘Icehouse’, they wasted no time in throwing down the hits first. From ‘Mr. Big’ into ‘Hey, Little Girl’ and ‘Electric Blue’, the standard was set early. Paying tribute to the late Chrissy Amphlett, a rendition of ‘Love In Motion’ (including music video footage playing on the screens) reminded the crowd of how well Davies’ writing played with the darker synth-rock tones of the early ’80s. 

Vocally, Davies is impressive. There’s always doubts when attending ‘heritage’ shows – will the band be as good as they were in their heyday? Sometimes such concern is warranted. Not at this show, however. Icehouse are a band who know the machine they’ve been operating in for the last 30+ years and they manoeuvre it very well. The music was delivered with great pacing and impact, the setlist appealing to the hardcore and passing Icehouse fan alike.

Davies combined effortlessly with Paul Gildea on guitar, the musician remaining on point and leading from the front at all times. The sound was mixed really well another element of these larger-scale outdoor gigs that can be hard to pull off and as the band burled into the second half of their set, the crowd rose from their rugs, standing and singing along to each word.

Drawing from the likes of Sex Pistols and David Bowie for their encore, Icehouse ended a memorable set with a triumphant conclusion.

This performance had everything from the nostalgia-inducing hits, to the deeper cuts that flaunted the band’s knack for sharp synths and killer pop melodies. Icehouse, we thank you. 

Highlight: ‘Don’t Believe Anymore’ – a song I always forget that drives hard emotionally and was delivered with haunting nuance.

Lowlight: No discernable lowlights.

Crowd Favourite: A tie between ‘Electric Blue’ and ‘Crazy’.