Posted on December 9, 2009
Yes, I know – its a slight variation on the Oasis or Dr Feelgood songs..
As regular readers of this fine and entertaining blog (yeah, okay, I’m overselling it somewhat) will know is that Jay and I went to see the B52’s and the Proclaimers at Sandalford Wines just outside Perth at the weekend.
We got there early, which turned out to be a good thing as the place was packed – we were pretty much at the head of the queue for the gates. Lugging our picnic gear across the field, we picked a spot a way back at the top of the hill that slopes down towards the stage area and set up the blanky, the esky and got the chairs out and set. It was a beautiful sunny day – pretty windy, but still 33 degrees despite the clouds that were rolling in off the sea.
We had an “encounter” in the queue to get in with some rough-as-guts Kiwi’s who were already tucking into a the booze (despite the fact there was a no bring your own alcohol policy) but most people were in good spirits.
Mental as Anything came on and played a very lack-lustre set to put it mildly. They were muffled, ploddy and the banter between songs was rubbish. They really need to pack it in before they spoil all those good 80’s memories.
There was a quick break before the Proclaimers came on and this is where I first started to notice how much alcohol everyone was consuming. By now the place was pretty packed and people were starting to stagger about. Sandalford wines is not really near publuc transport, so I do wonder how people were planning to get home having dunk so much.
Anyway, The Proclaimers started up and within seconds it became clear just how bad Mental as Anything had been. The Proclaimers were awesome – loud, punchy, on form, dynamic and just brilliantly tight. Their band was excellent and the balance between vocals and musicians was perfect. They played the old favourites (500 miles, letter from America etc) and some new songs too and in short, they were worth the ticket price alone.
It was now that it became obvious that Australia has a drink problem. The crowd was mostly middle-aged, late 20’s to early 50’s I’d say with most people falling into the early 40’s category. The should know better category.
But so many people were drinking way too much. The group in front of us were in their 40’s and were really annoying – standing up blocking the view, up down up down getting steadily more and more pissed when suddenly one of the women in the group turned round and threw a very large glass of wine at the people next to us – totally soaking the dad, his 10 year old son and catching me down my left side.
The woman got really aggressive when the bloke got up and demanded to know what was going on – claiming someone had grabbed her hair and she was trying to get them. She was very drunk, refused to say sorry and kept harping on about her hair – the bloke next to us (who wasnt drinking) lost it at this point and had a right go.
That kinda spoiled the rest of the evening the drunk woman kept on drinking and staggering around, her partner trying to placate her (but still not apologising) – the family next to us walked off in disgust and never came back, leaving all their stuff behind. More and more people were guzzling an endless supply of wine and staggering around – it was embarrassing.
Tears, the stench of booze, public drunkenness, falling over, the faint smell of vomit from somewhere in the crowd..not what you expect from a middle aged crowd at a (fairly expensive) picnic on the green at one of WA’s premier wineries.
And people were driving home after all this. Crazy.
The B52’s came on and they were a bit muffled – the sound balance was a bit off to start with – but instantly recognisable and on form. The girls were still as vocally limber as ever and Fred Schneider was camp and commanding as you’d expect.
They played an odd set with some of their newer stuff and one or two left-field classics (party out bounds – not their best song, but appropriate given how pissed the crowd was) but mostly they were brilliant, and as they got going , their set and the sound became better – with them doing Private Idaho, Roam, 52 Girls, Mesopotamia, Love Shack and then rounding it all off with an encore of Planet Claire and Rock Lobster.
Jay hated pretty much every minute of them as she’s not a fan, but I thought they were wicked.
The drunk wine woman’s partner came up to us and said sorry, I pointed out that it wasnt so much the wine (although that was really stupid) it was more the fact that she thought it was ok and didnt apologise that got our backs up. He was ok though and did try to make it better, although 2 hours had elapsed, he might have been better doing it a bit sooner)
The drink throwing woman then staggering up to us and said sorry too. Well, kinda, she still went on about her hair and how she would never throw wine (well, love, clearly you would, cos you did) and how she was a good person, blah blah. The alcohol on her breath was unbearable and her eyes focussed somewhere behind me, so I politely accepted her apology and steered her back to her party and the rest of Rock Lobster.
And then we drove home, threading our way out of the carpark avoiding the staggering drunks and pushy rude people..
Australia – you really need to get a grip on the booze, I have never seen so many grown adults lose control (and still have to drive home) in such a shameful way before, but the music was very good (mental as anything excepted) and we had a good time.