The respect, appreciation and love for the late great Michael Hutchence will carry on, but Australian’s INXS is ushering in the dawn of a new era for the band with new frontman JD Fortune.
A shot in the arm from the Vancouver native has done wonders and INXS is now riding the crest of popularity once again, blazing trails with its brand of rock on its heady world tour. Switch is the new album since 1997’s Elegantly Wasted. Though it took the band a reality rock show to mine its new golden boy, Rockstar : INXS wasn’t to be the double-edge sword the band worried it might have been. Thankfully, Fortune brings a familiar feel to an utterly familiar sound.
The first single, Pretty Vegas, penned by Fortune, instantly put INXS banck in the rock consciousness with its raunchy riffs and catchy chorus but Afterglow quickly displayed the band’s ever-present softer inclinations.
Flying in from Singapore, the band made a pit stop in Kuala Lumpur last week, where bass player Garry Beers and guitarist/saxophonist Kirk Pengilly enthused over the band’s new lease of life.
“The tour has been wonderful … the crowds are crazy,” Pengilly and Beers chorused. It’s has been 12 years since the band’s last visit to Malaysia and change is something it has noticed.
“Things have changed around this part of the world, I mean, Kuala Lumpur looked very different when we were last here,” said Beers in an interview hours before the band’s gig at Stadium Negara last Friday.
INXS is pleased with its most recent end product and feels it has retained the band’s identity. “We love the new album, we really do and what’s great about it is it’s still INXS music … you hear all those defining elements in our sound,”
One all important element has … breath in anticipation. The stuttering harmonica of Andrew Farris pulsed in time with the lights as the band launced into a pile-driving rendition of Suicide Blonde. Mystify and By My Side offered moer poignant moments with the band’s razor-sharp sense of the balladeeing. Really, there are moments when you close your eyes and you almost hear the late Hutchence.
The rock-o-meter had its needle bearing down on the red zone through the rocking and infectious Pretty Vegas and INXS anthem assault of brothers Tim and Andrew Farris, and Pengilly kicked up a storm accross these cuts.
Glow sticks and lighters took to the air, predictably, during the new single Afterglow’s turn. Though not destined to be an INXS gem, it had its moments in a live context.
The utilitarian musician in the band is without a doubt Andrew Farris, who comfortably switches from guitar to keyboard to harmonica and hand precussion, but keeping everything tght at the back were the thumping bass lines of Beers and the
rock solid drumming of Jon Farris.
It’s no surprise that the tunes from 1987’s Kick (INXS’ highest selling album to date) fared the best.