Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rocking at the Croc

AC/DC’s Melbourne stint was a blur of live performances at locations ranging from the Glen Waverley High School and the Ivanhoe Grammar School (both of which witnessed an AC/DC show on the same day in April 1975) to suburban beer barns such as the Waltzing Matilda Hotel in Springvale and Icelands in Ringwood.

The group criss-crossed Melbourne’s suburban sprawl in their ex-Ansett tour bus for gigs at venues such as the Southside Six Hotel in Moorabbin and Chadstone’s Matthew Flinders Hotel (where drummer Phil Rudd broke his thumb in a fight in September). Melbourne singer/songwriter Stephen Cummings has written of these pubs as being “seas of tables littered with overflowing ashtrays and hundreds of jugs of beer”. Physical altercations were not altogether uncommon, AC/DC’s road crew reportedly taking on the Heidelberg Sharps during one lively evening at Preston’s Council Club Hotel.

One venue that saw quite a bit of AC/DC during 1975 was the Croxton Park Hotel in High Street, Thornbury. Between February and October, it hosted eight AC/DC shows. Now equipped with poker machines, the Croxton Park is a different pub these days but still hosts live performances and employs the marketing slogan, “Still rocking at the Croc”.

AC/DC contemporaries from the mid-70s, Rose Tattoo and The Angels have both played shows at the Croxton Park in the last 10 months. The Angels became labelmates of AC/DC in 1975 when, after supporting AC/DC on their South Australian tour, Bon Scott and Malcolm Young recommended the Adelaide group to Alberts. When the group reunited for a tour in 2008, they played the Croxton Park on 4 December.

Another group that AC/DC steered to Alberts was Rose Tattoo. The group’s first four albums were produced by Harry Vanda and George Young (older brother of Malcolm and Angus) – the team at the controls during the early AC/DC records. Angry Anderson and the boys were on stage at the Croxton Park Hotel on 4 July this year.

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