Now this, friends, is what a reunion gig should be like.
had already enjoyed a sold-out show the night before and so were clearly feeling pretty good about playing their first Sydney gigs in a dozen years. They also had a perfect support act in the Brisbane-born-and-Sydney-based trio the Little Lovers, who had a similar fuzz-pop-with-bold-arrangements aesthetic, peppering their set with Custard-related memories and superb songs like ‘Jonathan Richman’.
They got the crowd into exactly the right mood, which meant that there was very little that Custard could have done wrong. So it’s a bonus that they rose to the occasion playing what was possibly the best set I’ve ever seen them do.
That’s partially because they were playing nothing but The Hits – cue references to ‘Apartment’, ‘Anatomically Correct’ , ‘Pack Yr Suitcases’, ‘Alone’, ‘Nice Bird’, ‘Hit Song’, ‘Lucky Star’ and so forth – and partially because they were all in so obviously a perky mood, grinning at one another and even indulging in a mass all-band hug while changing instruments before singer/guitarist David McCormack went behind the kit to give drummer Glenn Thompson a chance to take the mic for his classic ‘Music is Crap’. However, it's also worth pointing out they they were also just damn tight: Thompson and bassist Paul Medew are a rock-solid rhythm section, powering the band through an hour or so of gold.
The audience rose to the occasion too, belting out the falsetto “R-I-N-G-O!” during ‘Ringo (I Feel Like…)’, gettin’ down to ‘Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)’, and whooping it up when early favourites like ‘Bedford’ and ‘Singelette’ got an airing.
For me, there was an involuntary tear during ‘The New Matthew’ – there’s something beautiful about the “we’re living/and we’re dying/in the spaces by the side of the road” that never fails to hit me – though watching guitarist Matthew Strong point to himself during the titular line brought a smile to the face. And watching McCormack hug a good percentage of the crowd after the show was just plain sweet.
So will they do this again? In some ways it’d ruin the magic if they reactivated fulltime, but if they could do a couple of nights every 18 months, that’d be just about perfect.