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Twenty five years ago, the album ‘Eternal Nightcap’ seemed to come out of nowhere and sucker punch Aussie music lovers.

The Whitlams’ first album, ‘Introducing’, had a quirky indie vibe that seemed lightyears away from the rich, poignant masterpiece of ‘Eternal Nightcap’, an album that kept the quirky phrasing but added the sort of epic musicality that audiences couldn’t help but be dazzled by. For mainstream media, and audiences, ‘Eternal Nightcap’ was a spectacular introduction to a band that would shape the Australian music scene for decades to come.

Though The Whitlams have recently released their latest album, ‘Sancho’, a tour to celebrate their second, powerhouse of an album seemed inevitable. It’s easy to be cynical in these moments, because for some performers, anniversary tours do seem to be little more than an easy way to earn some nostalgia money from the fanbase.

This is not that kind of tour.

Don’t get me wrong: I am well aware Tim Freedman does not half-ass his shows. But it’s always a little fraught to see your faves performed decades later – vocal ranges change, energy levels fall, and yet, Tim is as charmingly abrasive, and musically endowed, as ever. Recovering from a flu, and with a smoke machine nearby leaving him huffing more chalk dust in an hour than our grandparents did in a year’s worth of detentions, the man rocked harder than should be possible.

I knew I’d love this gig, because The Whitlams have been a foundational band throughout my life, but I didn’t expect to love it this much. The crowd was just the right kind of hyped – before this gig I didn’t know you could actually mosh to The Whitlams – and the stage set for a phenomenal, somewhat chaotic night.

Almost all the favourites from the album were played (‘Tangled Up In Blue’ would have wrecked Tim’s healing vocal chords, so he’s promised to play it next tour, and I’m looking forward to holding him to that), plus some of the most popular hits from all their other albums. You know a concert is great and the audience is invested as hell by the time it takes polite applause to veer into stomping for an encore, and the band wasn’t even fully off the stage before the audience was demanding more.

If you’re not a fan of sarcasm and random asides, you may not enjoy the banter between songs, but sarcasm is the love language of many a gen x-er, and it’s hard not to love a man who can balance the heart-wrenching beauty of ‘Blow Up The Pokies’ with gleefully mocking the venue set up and daring the audience into orgies.

The ’25 Years’ tour is currently rocking through New South Wales before finishing up in Perth. For lovers of iconic Australian music, and spectacular lyricism, this is a not-to-be-missed event.

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gtsemil@gmail.com