When The Angels first started in 1976 Australian rock was still trying to find an identity. It had a great foundation with Johnny O’Keefe and Billy Thorpe before them but around those mid 70s something was brewing and in that brew was a couple of Brewsters.
John and Rick Brewster have always been the quite achievers. Their legacy sits alongside Angus Young for musicianship. The Brewsters rival the Young’s for hit singles and come close with hit albums. Both bands have been beaten up with line-up changes over their 40 plus years but at the heart of The Angels Rick and John are keeping the legacy alive.
The sound of The Angels is and always has been those two guitars so when the Brewster Brothers play the first notes of ‘I Ain’t The One’, ‘Coming Down’ or ‘Shadow Boxer’ you know The Angels are in the room.
Screaming Jets singer Dave Gleeson has fronted The Angels for the last seven years. He has delivered two amazing albums of new music and there is another on the way for 2018 (‘Blue Blood’ was previewed in the encore of the show).
Following the death of original bass player Chris Bailey, a third Brewster, John’s son Sam, has stepped in and like Gleeson, fits into the band. Sam and Dave don’t make the band wrap around them. The other essential part of 21st Century Angels is drummer Nick Norton who not only contributes to the rhythm but is now also an essential part of the songwriting team. Because the Brewsters can now also rely on Norton and Gleeson to participate in the creation of new songs, The Angels has regenerated an ongoing relevance with two excellent albums ‘Take It To The Streets’ (2012) and ‘Talk The Talk’ (2014) and the third next year.
While this is a band with a future, it is also a band with an incredible past. 2018 will also mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic ‘Face To Face’ album. The songs from that album still form the foundation of The Angels 2017 setlist. In 2019, their other iconic recording ‘No Exit’ will turn 40. Those two, together with ‘Face To Face’, make up half of the 2017 setlist.
What made tonight special was the warmth in the room for their original producer George Young, who passed away earlier in the week. Former Angels guitarist Bob Spencer, who is now with Rose Tattoo who opened for the band tonight, also swung by for the encore to play on the final song ‘Can’t Shake It’.
Australia has a massive natural resource in rock. In 2017 it is a pleasure to still be able to watch our icons perform their music that shaped a nation.
The Angels setlist, Melbourne, 28 October 2017
Night Attack (from Night Attack, 1981)
Fashion & Fame (from Night Attack, 1981)
Shoot It Up (from Watch The Red, 1983)
After The Rain (from Face To Face, 1978)
Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (from The Angels, 1977)
No Secrets (from Dark Room, 1980)
Movin’ On (from Skin and Bone, 1998)
I Ain’t The One (from Face To Face, 1978)
Let The Night Roll On (from Beyond Salvation, 1990)
Be With You (from Face To Face, 1978)
Dawn Is Breaking (from No Exit, 1979)
Face The Day (from Dark Room, 1980)
My Light Will Shine (from Skin and Bone, 1998)
Take A Long Line (from Face To Face, 1978)
Mr Damage (from No Exit, 1979)
After Dark (from No Exit, 1979)
Coming Down (from Face To Face, 1978)
Shadow Boxer (from No Exit, 1979)
Marseilles (from Face To Face, 1978)
Love Takes Care (Rick and John Brewster only) (from Face To Face, 1978)
Blue Blood (new, album 2018)
Can’t Shake It (with Bob Spencer) (from No Exit, 1979)