Hoodoo Gurus, Kentish Town Forum
I love the Hoodoo Gurus’ first album, Stoneage Romeos, because it’s full of punky pop songs about junk cultures things (the cover, above, gives you a hint of this). In 1984 I fell for the animated dinosaurs and poppy hooks of single ‘I Want You Back’ after seeing the video on Whistle Test, bought the single and then the album. The second album, Mars Needs Guitars, is pretty good if a bit more restrained, but after that the production seemed to get glossier and the songs more mainstream. Despite a good deal of success in the US the Gurus split up, but have now reformed and are playing all over, including this show in London.
Frankly I was disappointed; after seeing some of my heroes getting away with playing twenty year old material I was beginning to think this nostalgia lark was alright. But the Forum wasn’t full, and the sound didn’t do the later meat-and-two-veg-rock material any favours at all. The songs off the first album sounded good, but not great, though it was obvious that more subtle songs like ‘My Girl’ came across better than the louder stuff, which disappeared into a swamp of sound. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves and so did the audience, who I’d say were 100% Australian. Nothing wrong with that, obviously, but this made it a rather predictable gig – a bit like seeing a pub band playing to their mates. In an enormous Walkabout.
Still, I bought a t-shirt with a dinosaur on it, so it wasn’t all bad. Here are the A and B sides of that single that first grabbed my attention, plus that dinosaur video:
‘I Want You Back’ – Hoodoo Gurus – Stoneage Romeos
‘Be My Guru’ – Hoodoo Gurus – Stoneage Romeos