Corner Hotel, Melbourne
25th June, 2016
Supported by Franky Walnut
I reckon there’s a few guarantees at a farewell tour show. Guaranteed everyone will have stories of their favourite gigs, favourite songs, and for these guys, favourite beards. The Beards farewell show at the Corner Hotel on Saturday 25th June provided a few moments that no-one could have predicted.
In the hours leading up to the show, no-one knew that I would get to the train station with a surprise $11.00 on my myki, no-one knew that the Saints would beat Geelong causing a riot in the front bar before the show, and no-one knew exactly how many beers I had before the show. No-one knew that I would get called up on stage to be awarded The Best Beard Out, and evidently, no-one in the first 6 rows of the crowd knew how to catch a crowd-surfer. And all things considered, not one person knew that The Beards would provide one of the all-time greatest shows in the history of live music.
From start to finish the show hit all the right notes. Support act Franky Walnut put on a gut wrenchingly funny show, egged on by the screaming laughter of bearded men and beard enthusiasts. Walnut handled himself perfectly when an excitable man-mountain from the crowd joined him on stage. Walnut diffused the situation, where it looked likely that he would be broken in half and eaten, and was able to finish as hilariously as he’d begun. To the Boos and Jeers of the crowd, Walnut left the stage sobbing, signing off with a “Go fuck yourself” of his own.
Set one of The Beards was a stripped back, acoustic performance in tuxedos, on seats, and with a healthy amount of VBs on stage. The impeccable showmanship of these consummate performers was alive in everything they did. From the beard strokes between snare hits, handshakes with any member of the crowd who made eye contact between songs, and a vocal admiration and appreciation for anyone sporting a beard. The song selection went all the way through their back catalogue much to the absolute joy of the crowd. A crowd pleasing cover of ZZ Top’s, ‘Sharped Dressed Man’ gave the punters a taste of what was to come in their second set, with the crowd chomping at the bit to get into a bearded boogie.
The second set was the style of performance we had all seen and loved before. Instruments were electrified, McStubblington sporting his trench coat and pork-pie hat, Beardman Jnr in a wife-beater, Nathaniel Beard under a top hat, and Beardraven himself in his iconic checkered shirt and aviators.
The performance was everything a fan wants in a farewell show and more. They played their hits with gusto, they played the true beard enthusiast anthems with pride. From start to finish they dished out the choice cuts of their back catalogue to the raucous fans.
The show was spliced with hilarious moments throughout. Beard facts, awards, stories from the road, and half-drunk ramblings all provided the fans ample time to load up on bevvies themselves. A more polite and complimentary crowd I’ve never seen. A walk to the toilets became a guard of honour as gents with beards as long as their shirts parted for a clear passage and saluted with “Nice beard” as you passed.
The Beards never looked like slowing down, and finished the night with the crowd jumping for joy, celebrating beards and the decade-long pro-beard journey this band have given the world. As the crowd literally jumped for joy, and Nathaniel Beard once more revelled in the crowd tussling his luscious face-locks, the night came to an end. Like when nuclear war is averted in bad Hollywood films, strangers turned to each other and hugged out the joy that had overwhelmed them. Strangers actually hugged!! The show was so good that strangers hugged!!
The tour is coming to the end of its Australian leg, which was to be the final leg of the tour. But just days before this show at The Corner Hotel, an extra 14 dates across Europe were added to their tour schedule. One can only hope that The Beards take a leaf out of the beardless legend, John Farnham, and continue to say goodbye for years to come.
Review by Kieran Ryan
Photo Gallery by Todd Gingell
Simply click on image to enlarge & kick off the slideshow….