The Waifs 1 Jen Frei

A Sold Out Evening With The Waifs

On a balmy Sunday evening in Cairns, a sold out crowd of 2,500 people would gather to the newly opened Munro Martin Parklands for an evening with the much loved West Australian outfit The Waifs. Celebrating 25 years as a band, the multi ARIA award winners would play songs from their entire catalogue including tracks from their latest double album ‘Ironbark’.

Opening with ‘How Many Miles’ from their 2007 album ‘Sun Dirt Water’, the pace was set early with a blistering harmonica solo by Vikki Thorn, many that would be featured through out the evening. From a brief pause, the band followed straight into their 2003 smash ‘London Still’ with loud vocal harmonies from the strong sold out audience.

With the sun setting and the fruit bats flying overhead, The Waifs introduced the opening title track of their latest release ‘Ironbark’ with all three voices combining equally for a beautiful Fleetwood Mac like composition.

While the dancing crowd at the front grew larger and larger, the group worked through tracks such as ‘Highway One’ and ‘Love Serenade’, with Donna Simpson commenting that they had ‘lost count of how many people we have been told of walking down the aisle to this song’.

The Waifs 2 Jen FreiWith a near full moon shinning over the stunning Munro Martin Parklands, The Waifs would take a softer tone with the song ‘Dirt Black Track’ with Vikki Thorn mentioning the advantage of going on tour ‘was seeing our beautiful country’. While Donna Simpson laughed about forgetting her shoes and finding a vending machine at the Cairns airport that sells thongs.

Continuing with ‘Done And Dusted’, ‘Take Me To Town ‘and ‘Higher Ground’, all from their latest release, the band then brought the crowd to its feet with the hugely popular ‘Lighthouse’ from their 2003 album ‘Up All Night’.

With a stripped back setting for the middle of the performance, the trio performed acoustically playing requested songs such as ‘To The Rescue’, ‘Take It In’ and the crowd favourite ‘Gillian’ which was written by Josh Cunningham about his mother.

Continuing the sing-alongs with ‘Bridal Train’ and ‘Forty Years’, the full band re-joined the stage for a rocking version of ‘Fisherman’s Daughter’ with Josh Cunningham’s slide guitar skills wowing the crowd.

Returning for an encore with the song ‘Willow Tree’, Donna’s son Blue would also join the group on stage for a dance with his Mum and Aunty on the song ‘Crazy Train’. Finishing on a yodel with the track ‘Goodnight Lil Cowboy’, the song capping off a beautiful evening of music from one of Australia’s most loved and enduring bands.

Mitch Sullivan

Photos by Jen Frei – Frei Films

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