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Live Review: Thirsty Merc w/ Dosed & Caitlyn Shadbolt @ The Zoo – 04.11.2017

Guitars have been tuned, the torch has been lit and Aussie rock legends Thirsty Merc have officially hit the road on their mammoth 15-year Anniversary ‘Take Me Back’ tour as a heartfelt thank you to the fans who’ve been with them throughout their incredible career. The first stop was Fortitude Valley’s The Zoo, and as hundreds of rambunctious fans armed themselves with drinks, it was clear it was going to be one helluva damn good night!

Getting the party started was Sunshine Coast reggae-rockers Dosed, who were a cross between the John Butler Trio, the Wavves and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The longhaired trio’s powerful grunge-laced skank, combined with the lead singer’s reverb-enhanced husky tones had early punters dancing with complete abandon. The three-piece particularly impressed their new fans with a psychedelic reimagining of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, the final ingredient for a winning set.

After the rockified groove-fest of Dosed, it was a little anticlimactic for country-popster Caitlyn Shadbolt to follow, accompanied with just an acoustic guitar. Although the jovial 2014 X-Factor finalist was charming, with a sweet tone reminiscent of Katy Steele and a repertoire full of catchy, upbeat tunes, the inebriated crowd grew restless, paying more attention to their own conversations.

Fortunately, Shadbolt had an ace up her sleeve, ending with a medley made up of hits including Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, U2’s With Or Without You, Eminem’s Lose Yourself, Jessie J’s Price Tag, and finally Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses, resulting in the crowd singing at the top of their lungs. 

It was evident the main course was about to begin when the room became a dumpling steam trap of bodies, and a group of blokes started a boisterous chant. Thirsty Merc didn’t disappoint as they quickly strode on stage, launching into a meaty rendition of My Completeness, followed by carefree anthem In The Summertime and punchy fan-favourite Claude Monet.  

Frontman Rai Thistlethwayte, sporting a Grateful Dead tee, leather jacket and his trademark curly bouffant, had the crowd eating out of his hand. They sang his every word with utter adoration, fists in the air. “You guys are fucking awesome!” he declared.

One lucky lady got a surprise when her boyfriend proposed during Someday Someday. As you would expect at a rock show the embracing couple were immediately jumped on by a thrilled spectator as bassist Phil Stack dedicated his beautiful solo to the pair.

Given the fact the ‘Take Me Back’ tour poster features the cover art of Thirsty Merc’s self-titled debut album, it’s understandable for thinking the show would consist exclusively of those songs, but the quartet quickly moved on to less known tunes She, Politics, and high-flying number Those Eyes at the request of an audience member.

Thistlethwayte spiced up Mousetrap Heart by attacking the keys with a funkedelic jazz intro, before melting hearts in gorgeous serenade All My Life.

Sweet Talker seemed like an odd choice as the only track performed from the lads’ most recent album ‘Shifting Gears.’ Although Guitarist Matt Smith delivered a smouldering guitar solo that lit up the slinky tune, the absence of popular hits The Grind and The Good Life was a disappointment.

Drummer Pete Drummond had his moment in the spotlight with a kick-ass solo. His hands seemed to be flying everywhere at once as he tossed his sticks into the air and used every cymbal of his kit with seemingly effortless precision.

The quartet ‘closed’ the show with the wonderfully jaded I Wish Somebody Would Build A Bridge, the vigorous melody spurring the audience to dance wildly. After relentless cheers for, “one more song,” the quartet returned, raising the roof with 20 Good Reasons and cheeky classic Emancipate Me.  

One audacious fan decided to contribute to the finale by flinging his sweaty tee at Thistlethwayte who accidently dodged it with a well-timed jump. As the rockers thanked the crowd one last time, it was evident on every face in the room they just experienced the absolute best in Aussie rock.

‘Take Me Back’ Tour Dates

FRI 10 NOV
Prince of Wales, Bunbury
SUN 12 NOV
Ascot Racecourse, Ascot
w/ Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss & Daryl Braithwaite
THU 16 NOV
The Basement. Canberra
FRI 17 NOV
Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club, Shoalhaven Heads
SAT 18 NOV
Roche Estate, Hunter Valley
w/ Live, Lifehouse & The Calling
THU 23 NOV
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
FRI 24 NOV
Taren Point Hotel, Caringbah
SAT 25 NOV
Australian Hotel & Brewery, Rouse Hill
THU 30 NOV
Manning Bar, Sydney
FRI 1 DEC
Long Jetty Hotel, Long Jetty
SAT 2 DEC
Narrabeen RSL, Narrabeen
WED 6 DEC
Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
THU 7 DEC
Mac’s Hotel, Melton
FRI 8 DEC
York on Lilydale, Mt Evelyn
SAT 9 DEC
Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne
THU 14 DEC
Village Hotel, Golden Grove
FRI 15 DEC
Norwood Hotel, Norwood
SAT 16 DEC
Fowlers Live, Adelaide
Get Tickets HERE

Written by Anna Harvey