East 17 (UK)

Tony Mortimer, East 17 (Trak Lounge, 8th June 2012)

Tony Mortimer, East 17 (Trak Lounge, 8th June 2012)

The cross colours were gone. The high beanies were gone. Hell, even one of their members, Brian Harvey, was gone.

But for Tony Mortimer, John Hendy and Terry Coldwell, it was 1993 all over again in the plush surrounds of Toorak. The Trak Lounge – surrounded by its ridiculously priced boutiques and hair salons – is a fair way from the Walthamstow dog track, but it played its role as host well for the latest in a huge chain of 90s revival acts.

Without Harvey, East 17 had the job ahead of them to recreate some of the vocals that had seen them climb to some crazy heights in the pop music world in the 90s. Whilst it was hard to fault lead songwriter Mortimer’s effort and desire to bring the group back to life again, tonight was always a bit half baked.

The new tunes definitely have a stronger, heavier sound, the faux hip-hop of the 90s has been replaced with guitars and drums – albeit on pre-recorded backing tracks. On the whole though, not much of the new offering seemed to capture the crowd’s attention. This was humourously noted by frontman Mortimer: “I see you’re all going to get drinks now”

Obviously torn between giving punters what they wanted (the old songs) and proving they want to go on (the new songs), it was a set that may have lacked continuity. It was however one that had the crowd involved in the tunes they knew, and judging by the lengthy line for the $20 “Meet and Greet”, plenty were keen to show their appreciation.

Still, unlike the abomination that was S Club and Big Brovaz last month, punters tonight at least got some value for the money they’d shelled out. It was a set delivered with great humour, and the light hearted vibe more than made up for Mortimer’s pretty ordinary vocals on slower numbers like Stay.

I wouldn’t be putting any coin on the new songs getting too far though.

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