Bands reform for festival

A SWAG of cult Fremantle bands are reforming for this year’s Hidden Treasures.

The Neptunes, Wayne Green & The Phantoms, The Automasters, and grammy-award winners Lucky Oceans & Friends, have all confirmed they’re getting the band back together for a final-ish hurrah.

The annual music festival is held in kitsch half-forgotten venues like The Buffalo Club, and is popular with hipsters wanting to see cool and cult bands in incongruous locations.

“In a way the venues are the stars of the shows,” says Hidden Treasures organiser Davey Craddock.

Automasters frontman Bubba Hutchens says they last played together in 2008, but are doing a one-off show at HT because it is so unique.

• Musos Wayne Green, Alex Archer, Rick Mason, Greg Hitchcock and Brendan “Bubba” Hutchens. Photo by Steve Grant

“The audience is so diverse… a lot of the young crew wouldn’t know who we are, but they get to discover bands that have been around for a long time,” he says.

“It’s a great little shot in the arm to get together again and have another go.

“It’s a celebration of living and being in Fremantle, and for people who aren’t from Fremantle, during Hidden Treasures they feel like they are.”

Neptune’s lead guitarist Greg Hitchcock was born and bred in Freo, and says he loves how the festival gets “kids” into old-school venues, like the Navy and Buffalo Clubs.

“The club members get to hang around for a beer and look at what the kids are up to…but really, we’re the kids,” he jokes.

The Neptunes formed in 1987 and nurtured a garage surf-rock sound unique to Freo.

The band will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a show at HT, and be warned, they are not adverse to a bit of nautical pageantry on-stage.

The oldest of the bands, Wayne Green and the Phantoms, formed in 1979 and are playing their first show in 37 years.

Green says HT gets Perth’s old bands back together to hang out: “It’s got a great fellowship all round.”

An intimate addition to this year’s festival is the Fremantle Tram, which will pick up 36 patrons, three times a night, and transport them to secluded locations in Fremantle for a solo acoustic show.

Other surprises will include a DJ set from Fremantle mayor Brad Petitt (expect 12” remixes of Where Do the Children Play? by Cat Stevens) and ex-Fremantle Docker Peter Bell.

Hidden Treasures starts July 6. For more info go to hiddentreasuresfreo.com.au.

by JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM

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