Review by TheatrePeople of July 17 show
A CLASSIC BREW!
The Brewster Brothers rock. It’s as simple as that!
Having spent the best part of four decades writing songs and performing together, most memorably in the legendary Aussie rock outfit The Angels, John and Rick Brewster proved that they still have what it takes. Joining the siblings on the intimate Festival Theatre Stage were respected Adelaide musicians Ian ‘Polly’ Polites (keyboard & backing vocals), Enrico ‘Mick’ Morena (drums), Paul Duncan (bass) and a special appearance by Brenton Spencer Tregloan on banjo. Brothers, Angels and Demons took its viewers on a kaleidoscopic tour of the discovery of self, which began on the wings of a fictitious cyclonic storm....
Initially, upon hearing a ‘voice from beyond’, with which John Brewster shared an overacted, somewhat forced conversation with, I mentally cringed and wished I’d chosen instead to stay at home to watch the first night of ‘The Voice’ grand finale. However, this quickly disappeared when the storytelling became less laboured and more conversational, and my attempts to kick myself under the table turned into foot tapping to the music – from the upbeat Moonshine Jug and String Band numbers (their first professional band), featuring multi-talented Rick Brewster on washboard, to The Angels classics and current Brewster Brothers tracks. Brothers, Angels and Demons did not have me at “hello”. They had me at “I can’t dance, got ants in my pants.’’
The toe tapping began…
John Brewster engaged the audience in his walk down memory lane, aided by an infectious smile and visual feast of photos of loved ones who influenced and guided the brothers on their career pathway. They were very cute toddlers! The photographs successfully injected an emotional edge to the brothers’ journey to success. Lighting states were slick and seamless throughout. The only minor frustration was the loosely drawn white curtain onto which the photos were projected. A taut curtain or, even better, a cyc., would have made it easier to identify what was on some of the slides, especially when Brewster was not directly speaking about the images.
Curtains aside, the energy in the jam packed auditorium was electric and became increasingly so as the performance progressed.
The head banging began…
There was not a still head in the room when the brothers donned the obligatory rock god dark sunnies and unleashed The Angels! John and Rick Brewster peeked out from behind the eye of the cyclonic storm and spiraled head first into the metaphoric demonic madness of the music industry. The woman who sat behind me was right when she said “Oh, they were huge!”
The thought provoking Sydney Eyewitness News footage (another blast from the past!) of a 100,000 strong New Year’s Eve concert that quickly descended into violence was a wake-up call to The Angels who were on the cusp of meteoric music fame. In the words of the Lord Mayor at the time, “We pass from the troubled 1970's into the 1980's”. This was particularly true for the collective career of The Angels. In 1980, their music skyrocketed up the charts and they became a household name. The Brewster Brothers and stage band indulged us with quite a few well known hits and boy, do they still know how to rock! Special mention must be made of the music mix, which was perfectly balanced.
The body began to sway…
The acoustic strains of relatively recent Brewster Brother songs took the edge off the cyclonic storm and we all landed safely on an island, surrounded by dolphins, listening to the band whose light plane was floating in the sea (you had to be there…you really did!).
A highlight of the show was the first encore, which literally needed no introduction. John Brewster merely had to say “I know - you want the song to tell us to fuck off” and the audience erupted. It was both wonderful and surreal seeing a predominantly middle aged crowd join together and yell obscenities at the musicians. I bet you know which song I’m talking about!
The touching second encore unified the story of the show: two brothers; one guitar, one piano. A song they had written together as The Brewster Brothers: “When Love is Free”. A standing ovation.
There is no denying the appeal and talent of The Brewster Brothers. I thoroughly enjoyed Brothers, Angels and Demons, even with the tone deaf voice of the aforementioned woman sitting behind me singing along to most of The Angels tracks. And those who know me well will agree when I say that that’s saying something! The evening’s performance was the final of three shows performed at The 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the appreciative crowd was visually and audibly left wanting more. Promoters should be snapping these brothers up for a national tour.
Are we ever going to see their faces again? Here’s hoping!
Review by Patrick McDonald, AdelaideNow June 18 2012
BREWSTER brothers John and Rick, the backbone of Adelaide rock band The Angels, have their lives flash before their eyes when they finally meet their maker, have to face up to their demons, and prepare to join that big gig in the sky.
At least, that's the premise of this hugely entertaining musical retrospective, which opens with thunder, lightning and a familiar newscaster's voice telling us that that a light plane carrying some well-known musicians has gone missing in a storm.
Wearing his trademark sunglasses, but seated and also sporting a beret, Rick Brewster launches into the familiar riff of After The Rain and John steps to the mic to provide a more-than-passable stand-in for original Angels frontman Doc Neeson.
In fact, the ferocity with which they delivered such classics as Devil's Gate, Take a Long Line, No Secrets, Face the Day and Marseilles could have had you believe you were listening to the original lineup in its heyday.
In between, there were the stories behind the songs, tales of life on the road, and the unlikely musical history which led to The Angels.
The classically trained brothers came from a family history of orchestral musicians, composers and conductors.
They then formed the Moonshine Jug and String Band, which reformed for this occassion with original banjo and kazoo player Peter Tregloan and featured the unlikely sight of the usually static Rick dancing up a storm while strumming on a washboard.
The brothers' more recent blues-folk compositions - Do It Again, Blue Blood and No Place Like Home - also went down a treat with the audience which, despite its advancing years, happily yelled the obscene refain to an encore of Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?
• by: Patrick McDonald
• From: AdelaideNow
• June 18, 2012 2:15PM
Review of show by Faster Louder
Wed 20th Jun, 2012 in Gig Reviews
Brothers John and Rick Brewster began their hour long set with After the Rain after a theatrical opening simulating a loud thunderstorm and broadcast of a plane crash involving some well known musicians.
Thus began a journey spanning the brothers’ forty year career. The early days featured their first ensemble The Moonshine Jug and String Band with Brenton Tregloan on banjo and kazoo, Rick dancing up a storm while strumming a washboard, and John on the acoustic guitar. As the decades clicked over they plugged in as the development of the electric guitar led to the formation of The Angels.
We were treated to memories of the early days of the musical history of the family and tales of life on the road backed up with projections showing news footage from their career. The Adelaide Cabaret Festival audience was lucky to witness the World Premiere show Brothers, Angels & Demons. The brothers spoke about their demons through discussing the infamous 1980 New Years Concert in Sydney where they played to a crowd of over 100,000. The Angels stopped the show as the concert came to an abrupt end when some of the band members were injured by flying beer bottles. They also revealed stories of the early days of performing in the ‘70s supporting AC/DC in country Australia travelling in their EH Holden earning only $100 a night.
Set highlights included Devil’s Gate, Take a Long Line, and_No Secrets_, which had the audience up and dancing. The encore of course had to be the classic Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again with the audience happily yelling the infamous profane response. Aptly supported by Enrico Morena on drums, Ian Polites on keyboard and Shaun Duncan on bass, The Angels’ sound of old came flooding back.
The set came to a close with the current folk ensemble The Brewster Brothers, proving that their talent and love of music is as fresh as the beginning.