Tumbleweed’s summer tour may have been blighted by Biblical plagues and a distinct dearth of Triple J’s paternal attentions, but there was more venom and fun and pure raunch in every riff-packed number than in any of the fifty hot new things the yoof network flings at us every month.
They rolled and swung and stung like some kind of punch-drunk lurching phenomenon. Ali in Zimbabwe, Keating in question time, the Stones in exile.
The astonishing cavalcade of hits – ‘Healer’, ‘Acid Rain, ‘Carousel’, ‘Stoned’, reminded us why this band, from the ashes of the already prodigious Proton Energy Pills, engulfed Wollongong and briefly, the international stage before staunch necessity and brotherly feuds confined it to occasional summer tours.
Richie’s appeals to the drug-happy jingoism that defined and nearly blinkered their albums … “Hands up who loves drugs?” was an ironic tilt, but nothing could deny the visceral tug of their tidal guitar onslaughts, the brimming energy and gusto that converted the Northern into a roomful of flailing punters transported back 20 years to their skinny youths.
The band looked delighted with the mayhem they’d made – Richie rampaging across the stage with rockstar shimmy, Lenny, the brains of the outfit, grimly sculpting psychedelic masterpieces from his corner. Paul, manically grinning as he surveyed the rock-mad punters, bemoaning his only technical hitch in 20 years – a broken string. Jay, the youngest Curley and an early disciple of vice, looking ravaged beyond his years but delighted to be born into such a vocation.
Truly, a happy return to a rock institution. Long may the Weed grow.