Malibu Drive

The Railway Hotel, Port Adelaide, Saturday 28 September 2019

A cover band with street cred, “Malibu Drive” had and gave a great time at the Port on Saturday Night a couple of weeks back.

Whereas bog-standard pub bands comprise guitar, bass, drum and one mediocre lead vocal, here was a 7-Man Monster with as many good vocalists as Fleetwood Mac has.  This line-up carries a big repertoire and enables them to traverse numerous genres with ease (see programme notes below).

The house was full: and full of Funk, Pop and soft Rock, delivering joy to a cross-section of groovers of all ages (including dinosaurs such as The Varnished Culture’s staff).  The classics were delivered with taste and respect, but the arrangements made them seem somehow new and fresh. Hardy perennial “Africa”, for example (in the past a mere guilty-pleasure that we had to deny liking), was sensational in live performance, as was the Chicago rocker “25 or 6 to 4.”  The sound is busy but not crowded, tight but not regimented, leaving plenty of scope for improvising and riffs. The players cohered beautifully. They are:

Philimon Araya (Vocals) – Like a young Bruno Mars, Phil is pretty cool and full of delight in performance mode;

Billy Beger (Synthesizer, Keyboards, Vocals) – Very versatile and great either as a back-up or lead vocal – he nailed “Burning Love”! – and offered an impressive original piece, “Marilyn” that suggests the possibility of more original material;

Brandon Bartholomeusz (Saxophone) – Brandon seemed to be getting the most attention from the female portion of the crowd, and why not? After all, he was adept on sax, that quintessential 1980s instrument of romance, which enhanced songs such as “Easy” and “Rock With You”;

Sebastian Brook (Bass) – Bass underpins all decent pop songs, and, looking like a cross between the great bassist Bruce Thomas and Harry Potter, Brook kept the show on the road with an impeccable performance;

Simon Possingham (Drums) – To be a true drummer, Simon will have to learn how to behave badly (e.g. throw-up in a sink or heave a TV set into a hotel pool). But he’s got the chops down pat;

Stuart SmithJohn Stoddart (Guitars, Vocals) – last but not least, whether as punctuation or in soaring solo, the guitars powered through it all.

All in all, a great night.  Keep an eye out for Malibu Drive: Happily, you won’t find Mel Gibson ranting at this ‘Bu!


PROGRAMME NOTES: Malibu Drive’s set was (in alphabetical order):

Africa (Toto)

Am I Wrong (Anderson .Paak)

Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet)

Baby Come Back (Player)

Blame it on the Boogie (Michael Jackson)

Burning Love (Elvis Presley)

Dancin’ in the Moonlight (Toploader)

December 1963 (Oh What a Night) (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons)

Easy (Commodores)

Escape (The Piña Colada Song) (Rupert Holmes)

Flash Light (Parliament)

Finesse (Bruno Mars)

Freakin’ Out the Neighborhood (Mac DeMarco)

Get Down On It (Kool & the Gang)

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) (ABBA)

Hey Ya (OutKast)

Marilyn (Malibu Drive)

Move Your Feet (Junior Senior)

Moves Like Jagged (Maroon 5)

Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) (Billy Joel)

The Power of Love (Huey Lewis and the News)

Redbone (Childish Gambino)

Rock With You (Michael Jackson)

September (Earth, Wind and Fire)

Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder)

Still Feel (Half Alive)

Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealers Wheel)

Sweet Life (Frank Ocean)

Treasure (Bruno Mars)

The Trouble With Us (Chet Faker + Marcus Marr)

25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago)

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (Wham!)


  1. Reply

    Ritchie Ho

    October 11, 2019

    They were great!!!

  2. Reply

    Smug of Glebe

    October 15, 2019

    I love that playlist!

  3. Reply

    Fiona Saul

    October 15, 2019

    Saw them; loved it! Especially the guys on ? and ?

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