HARTS PLAYS HENDRIX
THE TIVOLI, BRISBANE
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2022
After almost a three year wait due to COVID delays, finally the day comes to hear Harts Play
Hendrix. Tonight's show was originally supposed to mark the 50th anniversary of Hendrix passing, and the audience are eclectic to say the least -- there are those who are old enough to have seen Hendrix in
person, and then there are also the kids who weren’t born until 40 years after his death.
Punctuating the set with audio and quotes from Jimi Hendrix himself, Harts makes it clear from the get-go that this wasn’t to be a set of imitation. He's making it his own, being completely in the music and experimenting as he goes along without straying too far from the absolute genius that was James Marshall Hendrix. He is even playing a left-handed Fender Stratocaster strung right-handed, a mirror image to Hendrix’s right-handed Strat strung left-handed, to really achieve the right sound as well as the iconic imagery.
Starting with 'Power to Love', it's a self indulgent solo fest… and, shit, I wanted to be indulged! It also gives a first glimpse of the talent of the rest of band. Tim Coghill really channels one of my personal favourite drummers (Mitch Mitchell) and Caleb Shand plays bass as he has done with Harts for a few years and, by the looks of things still loves every minute of it. Next they rip into 'Foxy Lady' which, as expected, is great and pretty true to Jimi’s live form of hugely extended long shredding solos.
A quick break with another audio clip of Hendrix talking about his love of music quickly slips into one of my personal favourites, 'Hey Joe'. Once again huge solos ensue and Harts plays guitar behind his head in a tribute to one of the greatest guitarists of all time. The next few songs are where Harts really settles into his groove -- we get 'Manic Depression', 'Red House' and 'Spanish Castle Magic' in quick succession, followed by another audio clip of Jimi talking about his music philosophy.
Next is the highlight of the evening, 'All Along The Watchtower', during which Harts plays guitar behind his head yet again, then with his teeth and executes one of the best guitar solos this writer has ever witnessed live. For the chorus, he introduces "Mr Jimi Hendrix" as the original vocals slip in effortlessly while the band keeps playing.
Closing with 'Fire', 'Purple Haze' and 'Voodoo Child', is pretty much any Hendrix fans ultimate dream. Harts and band approach 'Fire' and 'Purple Haze' with the respect that any song from Are You Experienced deserves, while 'Voodoo Child' is extended by a few minutes with huge solos and Harts rolling around on the ground while playing. Honestly, it was absolutely fantastic!
After a short break the band return to play a Hendrix cover of a cover in The Troggs' 'Wild Thing', a great end to the night. I can honestly say this show was worth the wait of almost three years - any slight worry before this show quickly disappeared. It could've been real cheesy or like any other cover band, but it was a true Jimi Hendrix fan playing music he absolutely loves and respects, something that became really clear to the audience.
Mitch Chesterton (@m_chesty)