directed by Chris Fitz-Gibbon
starring Angry Anderson, Peter Wells, Geordie Leech, and Mick Cocks
Maybe it comes from living on an island where everything around you can kill you, but Australia has produced some amazing heavy rock bands, most of which didn’t get much attention over here. Chief among these bands would be Rose Tattoo, a gritty, blues-based, mid-seventies, hard-rock band that I would like to believe was the music playing in the background of just about every Australian’s craziest night ever. I would imagine that for several generations Rose Tattoo would have been the last music heard before passing out, starting a bar brawl, getting an indecipherable tattoo, or ending up in the backseat of a speeding car with a poor choice of partners.
The band reunited with the original lineup to celebrate the closing of the Boggo Road Jail in 1993, which seems appropriate. Luckily, cameras were on hand to film the performance. While the DVD is pretty bare bones, it sort of adds to the charm. Who needs a bunch of shots of the crew setting up the stage in fast motion or smart people talking about Rose Tattoo’s place in the rock canon? Instead, the viewer is treated to about an hour’s worth of bluesy, heavy rock with little in the way of added embellishments.
The band looks exactly like you’d think they’d look: like they would probably kill you. Four tattooed biker-looking guys, with bald singer Angry Anderson (has there ever been a greater rock name?) built like a fireplug. The sound levels are good, especially highlighting the slide guitar playing of Peter Wells and Angry Anderson’s gritty, bluesy vocals — sort of a tougher, sleazier Rod Stewart.
The band plays the hits (or better-known songs, I guess they were hits in Australia), starting out with “Out of This Place,” hitting “Bad Boy for Love,” “Assault and Battery,” and “Nice Boys,” the last of which was covered by lots of sleazy rockers stateside. Things slow down a bit during “The Butcher and Fast Eddie” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll is King,” but are brought back up with a spirited cover of “Street Fighting Man.”
As with all concert DVDs, this probably will appeal more to fans of the band, but those with an ear for sleazy, down and dirty rock and roll would be quickly converted after a few songs. Hell, they might end up getting an indecipherable tattoo or starting a bar brawl because of it. Make Angry proud.
Rose Tattoo: www.rosetattoo.com.au