Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Angels - Their Finest Hour

In 1975 an Adelaide band called ‘The Keystone Angels’ supported AC/DC during a South Australian tour. The band featured brothers John and Rick Brewster on guitar, Doc Neeson on bass and Charlie King on drums. Both John and Doc shared lead vocals. On the recommendation of Bon Scott and Malcolm and Angus Young, they were offered a publishing and recording deal with AC/DC’s Sydney label Alberts.

In 1976 Graham “Buzz” Bidstrup joined John, Rick and Doc in the band, renamed ‘The Angels’ in 1975. Later, with the addition of bass player Chris Bailey, the band began recording their first album, ‘The Angels’.

The musicians in the band worked tirelessly on the road and in the legendary King Street studios to shape and refine their sound under the guidance of George Young and Harry Vanda.

In 1978, following a recorded 2JJ concert at St Leonard's Park, ‘The Angels’ released their landmark album ‘Face to Face’, which remained in the charts for 76 weeks. Their popularity exploded throughout Australia with sell-out shows and stadium tours with Meatloaf and David Bowie.

Subsequently ‘No Exit’ in 1979 and ‘Dark Room’ in 1980 became major albums and were released in the USA, UK and Europe, where the band achieved success, both live and on radio.

These records contained many hits, including ‘Take a Long Line’, ‘Shadow Boxer’, ‘Marseilles’, ‘Straightjacket’, ‘Coming Down’, ‘I Ain’t the One’, ‘After the Rain’, ‘Be with You’, ‘Out of the Blue’, ‘Mr. Damage’, ‘Devil’s Gate’, ‘No Secrets’ and ‘Face the Day’.

Buzz left the ‘The Angels’ in 1981 and Chris in 1983. These two went on to be founding members of another iconic Australian band ‘GANGgajang’.

’The Angels’ popularity continued for the next 20 years or so with healthy record sales and a plethora of ’Angels’-related websites on the internet, and in 1998 they were admitted into the ARIA’s ‘Hall of Fame’.

But shortly after the Millennium Concert in Darwin in 2000, Doc announced he was quitting the band to pursue a solo career.

In 2001, a benefit show for another Alberts label colleague, Ted Mulry, brought John, Rick, Buzz and Chris, 4 of the original well known band, together for a one-off performance as ’Members of the Angels’, with Jim Hilbun joining them to sing lead vocals.

In January 2002, there was a further performance in Perth at a benefit concert for victims of the Bali tragedy. This time the 4 performed with John on lead vocals.

The success of their reunion and the strength of John’s vocals encouraged the band to embrace both their music and heritage and continue as a 4-piece, playing songs in which John, Rick and Buzz played a major role in writing. Reviving the unique twin guitar assault of the Brewster Brothers and the no-holds-barred, rock solid rhythm section of Bailey and Bidstrup, they played to a full house at the Civic in Perth where the audience response was overwhelming.

In December 2003 they delivered two hugely successful shows in Sydney at Selinas and Rooty Hill RSL, and followed this in May with an 11 date sell out tour of WA.

In June 2004 the Adelaide Casino sold out in 1 day, with a further 3 sell-out performances in theatre mode in other Adelaide venues in September. Since then sell out performances continued in Victoria and NSW and some big shows in SE Qld.

2005 through to the present has seen the band re establish themselves as one of Australia's truly great touring rock bands.

Whether in up-close-and-personal acoustic mode, or in full blown electric concert, The Angels deliver a set list of unforgettable classics with all the intimacy and power that made them Australian icons.

Disc 1
Disc 2

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