They rocked, rolled, crooned, chortled, impersonated, illuminated … and that was just the first 30 minutes of The Basics gig at Brisbane’s The Triffid on that fateful evening of Saturday the 17th of October 2015.
Apparently a British “Rock DJ” had tricked thousands into attending his concert that evening at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, but that’s fine, it made it more comfortable for the appreciative and extremely lucky crowd who saw one of the best gigs Brisbane, nay the Universe, has ever seen.
Over the top? Perhaps. But so are The Basics.
For almost two hours this astonishingly entertaining trio comprised of Monsieur Tim Heath (guitar, piano, vocals), Raving Kris Schroeder (bass, guitar, piano, vocals, red wine, white wine), and Polyphonic Wally de Backer (drums, piano, vocals) played tracks from their current (and highly accoladed) album The Age of Entitlement, (only) one song from their impressive catalogue, and a bevy of covers that made you smile, think, and/or dance til’ you couldn’t dance no more.
“But I’ve seen amazing gigs before, what makes these guys so special?” I hear you ask. Well, consider this…
- Bruce Springsteen leaves it all on stage, plays longer than anyone else, and blows you away…
- Prince leaves it all on stage, plays longer than anyone else, and blows you away…
- Tim, Kris & Wally – leave it all onstage, realise it’s a mess, try to clean it up, makes more of a mess, pushes through and takes it to another level, plays longer than anyone else, blows you away…
Terrific songs, excellent musicianship, witty banter, but most importantly, they just wanna have fu-un.
And their fun is contagious.
It was practically a family atmosphere, assisted by the in-the-round setup where no-one in the crowd was more than a few metres away from the band. This is where The Triffid was a perfect choice, with the intimate space allowing everyone to enjoy the rambunctious glory of the three lads thrashing out My Old Mate or the epic finalé of Old Man down to the quiet harmonic nuances of Hey Rain or Love Hurts.
Their witty banter was being shared amongst us as much as it was between them. And this is the key to their success – when a mistake was made it wasn’t ignored. Hell no. It was spotlighted, exacerbated and celebrated.
This isn’t a lip-synced, auto-tuned dance-fest to a backing tape with massive-overhead-screens-because-that’s-the-only-way-you-can-see-the-performers concert, The Basics are real human beings putting their hearts and souls into a living entity … a real, honest-to-goodness gig.
Just three (albeit exceptionally talented) musicians in the middle of a room with an upright piano, some guitars, a bass guitar, two tiny amps, and a drum kit. And us.
It was an evening that brought people together for a good time. Even if that meant we have to humour Kris’ fascination with Tom Waits.
It’s a shame we won’t be seeing The Basics for a number of years with various side projects taking up the boys time for a while, but absence will make the heart grow fonder and the boys ability to remember the lyrics grow weaker, giving them more reasons to stick the boot in to each other and draw us into their embrace.
There are still a handful of dates in their tour. If there are actually any tickets left for any of these locations, just go. You may be joining music’s equivalent of a cult, but it’ll be worth it.
Whatever Happened To The Working Class?
A Coward’s Prayer
Wake Up Little Suzy (Everly Brothers cover)
I Don’t Need Another
Every Part of Me
To Think of You
Springsteen’s Delicious Pie – Rene Descartes couldn’t have said it better.
One Step Ahead (Split Enz cover)
Love Hurts (Everly Brothers cover)
Kris’ impersonation of Tom Waits version of You’ve Got It (Roy Orbison – not Shannon Noll, you tool)
Kris’ Soliloquy of Inadequacy
As The World Falls Down (David Bowie cover)
Hey Rain (Bill Scott cover)
Feels Like Love
Good Times, Sunshine!
The Lucky Country
Songbird (Fleetwood Mac cover) – Wally solo on piano. Beautiful in its simplicity.
Lovesong (The Cure cover)
My Old Mate
Strap It On (one more time) – Tim proves that romance isn’t dead
Old Man (Neil Young cover – although there’s no way you’ve ever heard a more epic version than this one – holy moly they went for it)
Stunning photo of The Basics taken by Anthony Smith Photography (used with permission).