As the world absorbed the loss of US musician Prince, Australian alt-rock band Regurgitator celebrated the great artist’s life with a cover of his famed track, When Doves Cry.
Performing at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) last night on the final of its hugely popular ‘Friday Nights at the NGV’ series, the tribute proved an emotional, unexpected end to a great set, which was otherwise an ode to experimental 1960s rock group, The Velvet Underground.
The NGV’s big summer blockbuster Andy Warhol-Ai Weiwei concludes on Monday and Regurgitator navigated its way through the Warhol-produced album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, from 1967.
Quan Yeomans, Ben Ely and Peter Kostic joined forces with Australian singer Seja Vogel, and musician Mindy Meng Wang, who played the Chinese string instrument the Guzheng.
Channeling Velvet Underground front man Lou Reed, they played it straight to begin, capturing the heart of the era with the famed track Sunday Mornings. The group then surged into a Velvet-Gurge mash, adding some rock-electronic edge to I’m Waiting for the Man, Femme Fatale and All Tomorrow’s Parties, among other hits.
The Velvet Underground stood out for its willingness to push boundaries of sound and lyrics, exploring drugs and sex. Regurgitator, founded in the 1990, captured much of this avant-garde essence, while also holding true to its Aussie roots that bred songs including Polyester Girl, !(The Song Formerly Known As) and Kung Foo Sing.
Backed by on-screen images of Warhol and Weiwei’s art, and supported by DJ Oscar Key Sung, the combination was a stroke of artistic smarts by the NGV. It beautifully wrapped up a buzzing season that saw an eclectic mix of performers, including indie musician Bertie Blackman and singer Ngaiire, fill the NGV’s high-ceiling Great Gallery with sonic art.