Way up ahead of us, in front of the cognoscenti of chords, way past the bearded singer and the other guitarists there’s this sound. There’s this huge, thumping bass drum going boom-boom, boom-boom, bahh-boom and it sounds like the Atlantics’ Bombora that changes down a gear into something else as Sean Sennett, the Aussie muso / publishing legend (who remembers Time Off ?) leads his band into a bunch of songs from his collaboration with Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst called Crashing the Same Car Twice.
I’m hearing reverberations of Radio Birdman from last century, but it could be me. My old roadie ears and post-70’s brain cells aren’t what they used to be.
I’m imagining Iggy Pop on a road trip with The Triffids while somebody’s grandkids are break dancing beside us on the Turbine Stage at Brisbane’s re-purposed Powerhouse across the dirty, snaking river from the mega-rich’s pristine motorboats, private jetties and rendered faux-Romanesque palaces.
Meanwhile Sean sings evocative, surreal lines that only an Aussie who’s been on a long, hot road trip could conjure - lines like: “Sunshine burns itself across my treeless plain”.
It takes me back 1972. I’m a teenager in the back of the Holden Belmont as we rattle across three hundred miles of dead straight, dusty, dirt highway and the Nullarbor Plain following the old telegraph line westwards towards Perth, where my brother was supposed to be, but wasn’t. (He’d probably tell me this song reminded him of that old movie Wake in Fright.)
Fast forward four days and that same Aussie sunshine is hammering my temples at the speed of light as I wait for the new water jug to filter properly. I’ve been awake for 24 minutes and can’t get focused on photo editing until I get that caffeine in the system. And I ain’t using the water out of the tap connected by shiny copper to the 90+ year old water main out in the street. Not after being a plumber’s laborer. I’ve seen the inside of water pipes and it’s not pretty.
A strange pinging noise reminds me that the garbo truck is outside. I tell myself to rescue the empty plastic wheelie bin off the footpath before some pesky dog walker chucks their stinking dog poo in to incubate in the hot sun.
I whack on my noise cancelling headphones as the coffee pot gurgles on the gas stove. These tunes of Sean’s are so good. Despite seeing his collaborator and The Oils a heap of times, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know which of his four albums to buy after the gig last weekend. $10 each, I shoulda got them all! They are sonic nuggets.