Jet: Get Re-Born
The Forum, Melbourne
Monday June 11
Arguably, Jet face a tactical issue in playing their debut album – now, astonishingly, 15 years old – in its original order, in that their biggest hit, Are You Gonna Be My Girl, arrives as just the second song of the night. Where exactly are they meant to go from there?
As it happens, the 90-minute set is pretty much all killer, no filler, with the opener Last Chance throwing down a three-chord marker from which the band rarely strays. Rollover DJ, Cold Hard Bitch and Lazy Gun provide plenty more hard-rocking thrills, while Look What You've Done makes a solid case to be considered the go-to sing-along anthem for a generation of Aussie males for whom Khe Sanh might be just a bit too, well, you know.
Hailed as a defining document of the so-called and short-lived rock revival, Get Born was a raw and perhaps unlikely amalgam of AC/DC and Abbey Road-era Beatles. Some of the lyrics were a bit off – Cold Hard Bitch in particular has a nasty air of ill-defined misogyny – but there were hints of tenderness and vulnerability in there, too.
The recently released Get Born Live album, recorded at this venue in 2004, shuffles the order and omits two of the slower tracks, Come Around Again and Timothy; the result is a relentless barrage of hard rock, played fast and loud, but lacking modulation.
This gig was a more nuanced affair, the inclusion of Timothy – dedicated on the evening to guitarist Cameron Muncey's mother – a particularly welcome addition.
Following the track order gave the set more peaks and troughs, and the addition of some of the band's best songs from their two other studio albums – Shine On (2006) and Shaka Rock (2009) – pushed it out of the straitjacket of all those Malcolm Young-inspired structures from the debut.
Unable to match the early success of Get Born, and tired of endless touring, Jet broke up in 2012. This reunion was born in 2016, when Bruce Springsteen invited them to support him on his Australian tour. Presumably, the band enjoyed it enough to stay airborne. The crowd at the Forum on this Queen's Birthday evening seemed entirely grateful to have been invited aboard.
Karl has been a journalist at Fairfax Media since 1999, in a variety of writing and editing roles. Karl writes about popular culture with a particular focus on film and television.
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