Live Review & Gallery: John Kennedy & The New Originals … Say Adios In Marrickville 120523

Inner city favourites, John Kennedy & The New Originals bid farewell to the inner west last Friday night, with their charismatic front man JFK off to grace the shores of Spain in the very near future. Does this spell retirement for someone whom Marrickville has long claimed as their own?

With over 200 pre sales, the Marrickville Bowlo was already heaving by the time I got there and the few tickets remaining were quickly snapped up by punters that knew they’d be part of a very special evening. The lineups of all three bands were filled with faces familiar to any Inner-Westian-Music-Afficionado. Members of bands like The Died Pretty, The Atlantics, Even, Spurs for Jesus, Matt Finish, Glide, The Smart Folk and……The Wiggles…..(a keen eye could also easily spot other inner west musos dotted throughout the audience), all came together in their respective bands as The Jane Does, JOEYS Coop and headline act John Kennedy’s Comeback Special to bid a fond farewell to JFK before he deserts us for a life of ease in sunny Spain.

Celebrating a long lived career, John Kennedy has undergone a few name changes along with a mix of lineups and Friday night they celebrated songs by JFK and the Cuban Crisis, John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong and John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special, as well as the current band John Kennedy and The New Originals who have recently released their new album to add to the slew of another 5 albums by the various incarnations, making it 6 album releases in 6 years. An impressive achievement for any band no doubt, however being that 2 of those years we were all faced with covid lockdowns and then the slow movement of live music and the industry in general as it came back to life, this is no mean feat.

The night opened with The Jane Does. It was my first time seeing these guys as last time they were in town I only got there just in time to be guitarist Matt Allison’s guitar stand as he packed up his gear! Matt along with drummer Michelle Ker are also members of alt country darlings Spurs for Jesus, and the Jane Does were completed with Rebecca Jayne and Joanne Bennett. As I discovered on the evening, it certainly was a night of goodbyes. After telling Michelle how much she was truly in her element playing in this band – she was really on fire! – she announced to me that it was to be her final gig with the Does with the distance between her new home on the Central Coast and the rehearsal space in Tarren Point just getting too much. Needless to say she will be sorely missed by the band.

Next up were JOEYS Coop fronted by Mark Roxburgh of critically acclaimed Decline of the Reptiles and Brett Myers of legendary The Died Pretty as well as Marc Lynch of Glide and The Gin Palace and Lloyd Gyi of The Atlantics. Fresh from a gig the night prior at The Link and Pin in Woy Woy, the boys were well and truly warmed up for the appreciative crowd. They have a few more shows coming up in celebration of their new release Lachlan Valley Dirt – well worth checking out.

John Kennedy took to the stage with the usual charisma and rock n roll charm that we all know and love. Accompanied by the latest (and possibly the last) incarnation of his band, aptly named The New Originals made up of inner west and indie alumni in Murray Cook (aka The Red Wiggle) on guitar, Matt Galvin on guitar, Pete Timmerman on drums and Phil Hall on bass. They enthralled the audience with crowd favourites such as Miracle in Marrickville, The Texan Thing and The King of King Street, the set was filled with only the best from John’s long and successful career spanning decades. The band returned to the stage for a well deserved encore and took their final bows.

Does John’s departure to Spain spell the end for any future John Kennedy bands here in Australia? Will he get to Spain only to find out it really is too far away from Marrickville and decide to return? Was this whole thing a well orchestrated PR stunt to get more bucks for the memorabilia he’s been offloading under the rouse of a moving overseas sale? Only time will tell I suppose but I for one hope to see John Kennedy (insert cool band name here) back on an inner west stage in the hopefully not too distant future.

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