Welcome to Rockodile Dundee. Dave Evans is so much a stereotypical Aussie you almost expect a stripe of sun block down his nose, a four pack of Foster’s lying on the amp and corks hanging from his straw hat.
And the music is straight out of the roughest, toughest, mean and dirty bars Down Under. It’s blunt and, at the same time, brilliant. It’s no-nonsense and yet it makes perfect sense to anyone who’s been through life’s ups and downs.
As a performer Evans, the first man to front AC/DC, mixes aggression with humour and showmanship with sincerity. This set might have been played out in front of only a handful of Newcastle’s die hard rockers but they were treated to a sensational night of hard rocking action.
On his first headline tour of the UK Evans was under no pressure to dip into an extensive back catalogue and chose to concentrate on current release Judgement Day. That was the first smart move of the night.
An album packed with singalong anthems featuring a slew of hummable riffs, it might have been nearly 40 years in the making but it surely represents the pinnacle of Evans’ long and celebrated career.
Opening up with We Don’t Dance To Your Song, the ‘fuck you’ attitude was evident from the start. Band Molls and Another Boy On The Street are cracking songs deserving of a much bigger stage.
But the pick of the bunch has to be Ain’t Gonna Do You To Me Anymore. Featuring a riff that inspires grown men to wiggle their hips and tap their thighs, it’s one of the best tunes we’ve heard all year.
AC/DC fans were treated to a rarely heard rendition of the band’s first single, Can I Sit Next To You Girl, and an even more obscure early B-side in the shape of Rockin’ In The Parlour. Evans, backed by Fury UK’s Chris Appleton on lead guitar, was in his element and it was clear just why the Young brothers almost stuck with the big man ahead of Bon Scott.
Refusing to play any Brian Johnson-era AC/DC in the home town of the man himself – Evans told the crowd ‘ Brian can do it himself and he does it well’ – the man behind the mic did pay tribute to his successor with a sparkling version of Whole Lotta Rosie and it brought the house down.
Aussie rock still takes some beating in a basement bar on a balmy summer night. And Evans is the godfather of a much-loved genre.