Mojos Bar

The Painkillers

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Hydra is the most perplexing of all the mythical creatures. Cut off one head and two more grow in its place. Not the sort of thing to be tussled with lightly.

Cue The Painkillers. After many years of gracing the stage as a minimalist garage two-piece comprised of Joe Bludge and James Baker, you might be forgiven for thinking you are seeing double, or perhaps that you have fallen into the rabbit-hole of some sort of dream-team scenario, since the two newer heads bear a remarkable resemblance to those of Richard Lane and Martyn P Casey. Still, it is unwise to get caught up in the distraction of counting heads as the beast looms over you… better to consider what lays at its core: that same, glorious rock n roll heart.

Rather apt that The Painkillers’ fourth and latest album, Oldest Friend, is a two-headed monster all of its own. Side A consists of a brace of songs inspired by the current line-up. The opening track, Cannonball, rocks about as hard as a very hard place indeed. The moral? Be. This is followed by the title track and lead single, Oldest Friend, a catchy mid-tempo number that takes the listener back to the cross-over nuggets of The Painkillers’ earliest releases. Shenton Park Madonna is too sad to paraphrase without Baker’s high-hats and Casey’s bass runs. It is what you might call a true story (being based on a tiny article that Bludge found nested between tradie ads in a community newspaper). Side A is rounded off with $6 Chicken, endorsed by Maire Antoinette herself.

Not always an easy band to pull together, The Painkillers, but once assembled they are hard to stop, and Richard Lane is virtually aglow at this point. Thus, Side B. This was the session that many outside the band had been hankering for – a straight-to-tape slamdown of Painkillers “standards” according to the current lineup – orphaned songs that the many-headed monster has consumed, digested and spewed up once more. Redfern Girl is a stand-out, along with Love Cancer.

They say the only way to tame a Hydra is to staunch its severed necks with fire. Probably easier just to buy the album; it’s a ripper, after all.

Doors 8pm | Entry $10

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