Four5Nine Bar, Perth WA
March 3rd 2018
I have to admit to more than a slight amount of trepidation when I heard Shihad frontman Jon Toogood was going on not only a solo tour but an acoustic one at that. This is the guy who brought us Pacifier, FVEY, and The General Electric. What the hell is he playing at snubbing all that work Benjamin Franklin did back in 1752? I was about to find out.
9:30pm on the dot Jon Toogood walked nonchalantly through the packed crowd at the Four5Nine Bar, picked up a guitar, sat on the wooden stool at the microphone, cracked a couple of jokes and got right down to it. First up the Shihad song ‘So You Think You’re Free’, two bars in and the question of “what was he doing?” was well and truly answered. Jon was going to rock the absolute fuck out of Perth. This show was as much about the audience as it was about Toogood, and we didn’t have to wait long to all become part of the show. Launching into one of the most Aussie songs ever written Jon had the punters in full voice with the Australian Crawl classic ‘Reckless’, although the song was halted briefly for Toogood to reprimand us for fucking up the lyrics, he was right of course we got carried away and added one too many “reckless!”. Suddenly this small intimate venue turned into a raucous rock n roll karaoke show with Toogood working the room like the seasoned front man he is. An Aussie classic was followed by a Kiwi classic with Dragon’s ‘Rain’ – everyone knew all the words this time. I was either in a bar full of Kiwis or Aussies that loved music from across the dutch. Speaking of over there, New Zealand rock royalty was next as Jon belted out a cover of Split Enz ‘I Got You’. Punters went into overdrive singing at the top of their voices at times threatening to drown out the man we’d all come to see.
Contrast that with a cover of Aldous Harding’s haunting ‘Horizon’, you could have heard a pin drop, it was spellbinding, the formally raucous punters were stunned into silence by a song barely anyone had even heard before.We were all encouraged to check her out and buy her album ‘Party’… so I did and I have, thanks for the heads up Jon.
That was quite literally the only quiet point of the whole night, normal service soon resumed with the affable frontman paying acoustic tribute to some fallen heroes, in the likes of David Bowie, Tom Petty and would you believe it, Lemmy. Microphone adjusted Motorhead style Toogood belted out ‘Ace Of Spades’ on an acoustic guitar proving once again you don’t need electricity to be as heavy as fuck!
There was no rock star airs and graces from one of the best frontmen in the business, at the closing of the show Jon hung around and chatted with fans, taking selfies and signing the odd autograph. If you’re a fan catch this tour, if you’re not a fan, catch it anyway, you’ll be one soon enough.
Reviewed by Gareth Williams
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