Around 1998 4ZZZ, 4MBS, and Family Radio started broadcasting from the one installation at Mt Coot-tha. Prior to this 4MBS and Family Radio had merely leased land beside 4ZZZ but then Brisbane City Council decided that having three transmission towers and huts in the one place was an eyesore and encouraged the three radio stations to share facilities. This resulted in the three radio stations developing a company called Broadcasting Park to negotiate with the Council. This company consisted of three shares, one owned by each member station.
Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda @ The Foundry
I arrived at the Foundry to see Vulture St. Tape Gang in action. Being a dedicated fan I was pleasantly surprised to see a slightly augmented line-up. As always Michael Medlycott (core member of VTSG and now of the Chord Memory Band too) was on keyboard duties, while joined by Sam Maguire (of Astro Travallers, Ultrafantastics) on bass and James Wright (of Rolls Bayce and the James Wright Trio) on drums. This arrangement was fruitful – Medlycott’s looping, smooth and/or discordant keys fitting perfectly with Sam’s nippy, driving basslines and Wright’s deft drumming. Wright’s rhythms were all the more exceptional considering his minimal drum kit set up - less is definitely more. The band was in close, confined by the amount of equipment on stage. They kept it light hearted, making jokes in reference to Shade (whose first birthday we were celebrating), and informing us that they’d be taking us on a journey (as is the case with most jazz-fusion).
While they were vamping Maia got up to add vocals for a soulful downtempo number (although she literally couldn't get on stage as it was jam packed with gear). She was joined by Rui Da Cruz (of the Astro Travallers) who freestyled. He riffed on the shady theme in what was a great duet. This was followed by an up-tempo number, Medlycott slapping the keys furiously. As it concluded he said it was their tribute to Harvey Sutherland, being their funkiest number by far. They brought it back down with some deep, celestial piano-jazz before they brought Maia back up. This time she got a literal push on stage though. Again Rui joined her as she took a seat on the PA. They ran slightly overtime, Michael apologizing while conceding that this is often the case with jazz-funk journeys.
The crowd was packed in like sardines for the start of Harvery Sutherland and Bermuda. An ambient introduction of heavenly synth-sequences was met by cheers of adulation, the crowd obviously rearing and ready-to-go. After a long build they broke into glorious song. First I noticed how skilful the drummer Graeme Pogson was (who’s also one half of GL and former drummer for The Bamboos). He never missed a beat, keeping the band exceptionally tight. While he took care of the rhythm track Sutherland and violinist Tamil Rogeon executed some formidable solos. Harvey tore out some face-melting synth rippers while Rogeon played electric violin in the power stance, occasionally taking a back seat and adding dubbed-out strings. The transitions between songs were seamless. There was no time to stop moving, the band giving us a minute breather after three incredible jams. All the songs built and built to a fever pitch, upon which they provided release. It should be noted as well that I’d never witnessed a drop accompanied by a violin solo!
Half-an-hour in they dropped some particularly heavy beats. While all this was happening the band was having lots of fun onstage, all smiles and cheer, while the crowd lapped it up. As the hour wound up they ended on a high note, the audience in total rapture. After jumping offstage quickly, they responded to chants of “one more song”. Rogeon hyped-up the encore, saying they’d do one more song “for us munters”. In my opinion they were easiest one of the greatest live acts I’ve seen, striking a perfect balanced between the live elements and the sequenced parts.
Before and after Sutherland played local producer/DJ Jawgoh selected some danceable tracks. Amongst his great selection were disco classics like Ain't No Stopping Us Now by McFadden & Whitehead and The Voice Of Q by Q. He also played some modern classical like The Fatal Flaw In Disco by Mark Seven. Needless to say it went down well, keeping the dancefloor alive until the Foundry closed its doors.