Nestled in the foothills on the outskirts of the City Of Cairns are three Old World War II Oil Tanks that have converted into a vibrant art space called the Tanks Arts Centre, creating one of the most unique concert venues in the whole of Australia.
Ella Hooper jumped up on the Tanks stage on the 1 year anniversary of the first single “Words Like These” from her latest solo album Small Town Temple.
Hooper loves to talk, which was great because the crowd were keen to listen. In between songs there was talk of Covid, internet dating, love and other catastrophes that sets the scenes for where these songs came from, mainly from the experience of living in her small country town, Violet Town in Victoria, Australia.
When this tour was first announced it seemed an odd pairing but as Hooper progressed through her set it was clear that the Ella Hooper was musically a different person to the girl in Killing Heidi…her new songs are beautiful and fairly country or as Hooper said, her great two musical loves are punk and country… “so lets call it Puntry”.
James Reyne hit the stage with his full band including back up singers and launched straight into it. With a four decade career and a back catalogue to explore, there was a lot of anticipation of what will be played. Kicking of with “What a Pain in the Arse It Is,” “Daughters of the Northern Coast,” and then “Any Day Above Ground”, and by this stage the crowd was totally into it….dancing where they could which was mainly at the bar, as the rest of the venue was seated.
Ella Hooper made a reappearance to duet “Way Out West” with Reyne and the band, and then the set headed into greatest hits territory with “Downhearted” and “Reckless” which had the entire crowd singing along.
At this point the band left the stage except for Reyne and the lead guitarist and a reggae riff started the intro to an extended and stripped back version of “The Boys Light Up.”
This show was exceptional and James Reyne had the audience eating from the palm of his hand, proving what a legend of Australian music he really is.
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Nathan Kelly is an Australian Music Photographer and writer who has been working in the music industry for the past 30 years.
His photography has been published and exhibited world wide and is held in several prominent public institutions including the National Library of Australia and The National Portrait Gallery