‘Heavy with emotion’: Oils announce surprise gig
It's the gig every Midnight Oil fan eagerly anticipates - the "intimate" pre-tour warm-up show.
Ahead of kicking off their Makarrata Live tour next week, the Oils will exercise their musical muscle with a one-off concert at the iconic Enmore Theatre on February 25.
The warm-up gig will feature special First Nations guests who collaborated on the No. 1 record The Makarrata Project including Troy Cassar-Daley, Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Leah Flanagan and Tasman Keith.
It will also mark the public debut of bassist Adam Ventoura, the older brother of actor Zoe Ventoura, who steps into the role after the sudden death of much-loved band member Bones Hillman last year.
Ventoura landed on the Oils' radar when he was guesting at a recording session at guitarist and keyboardist Jim Moginie's northern beaches studio, and has previously toured with Cold Chisel's Ian Moss.
Frontman Peter Garrett said the band's return to the stage in the wake of Hillman's passing will be "heavy with emotion".
"It will be a moment heavy with emotion to go onstage without our long time brother in music, but Bonesy always made it clear he wanted these gigs to go ahead without him so we know he will be with us in spirit," Garrett said.
"We've started rehearsing with Adam, who, amazingly, has been living under our noses in Sydney. There's something primal about his playing that caught our ears that makes the band sound great."
Despite the logistical nightmare of trying to assemble their Makarrata Live collaborators from all around the country against the backdrop of sudden COVID border restrictions, the Oils managed to confirm a strong contingent of the album's guest artists for the tour which opens at WOMADelaide on February 28.
Those artists will not only perform their songs from the record but also be given the spotlight to share their own works with the Oils fans.
"We're fortunate that so many of the collaborators on our mini-album can join us onstage for these shows and we remain hopeful that one or two more of our friends might be able to jump up with us here and there as well," said drummer Rob Hirst.
"The message of these songs feel increasingly relevant as public awareness of The Uluru Statement continues to grow. It's time for Australia to stop dragging the chain on this issue and we call upon the government to begin the process of constitutional recognition for First Australians and to also heed their call for a Voice to the federal parliament."
The Oils' warm-up gigs are legendary. Ahead of the Great Circle world tour which reunited the band, they performed at their old beachside stomping ground Selina's, in Coogee.
And before their 2019 concerts, they headed to the very intimate Anita's Theatre in the small artistic town of Thirroul near Wollongong.
The Enmore Theatre, which reopens next week after extensive renovations during the COVID lockdowns, also figures in the band's storied concert history.
The rock band played two shows at the Enmore Theatre in January 1986, marking its debut as a rock'n'roll venue.
The band and Frontier Touring pre-sales for the February 25 warm-up gig open at 11am on Wednesday, with general tickets available from 1pm on Thursday.
Originally published as 'Heavy with emotion': Oils announce surprise gig