The bands were Mount Lofty Rangers and Headband; the legends, the mighty multi-talented Robyn Archer and folk-scene icon Peter Thornton.
The Mount Lofty Rangers took to the Goodwood Institute stage with eight members – led by keyboard maestro/vocalist Peter Head and Robyn Archer, along with Hall of Famers Trev Warner and Mark Meyer – representing the more than 200 who appeared with the band at various stages.
The Rangers would appear in the ’70s with a different line-up at every gig, playing original patriotically South Australian songs. The great Bon Scott was a regular, contributing songs as well as singing, as were many other top musicians of the day.
The AMC performance was excellent, testament to the quality of the players and their obvious enjoyment at playing together.
Headband’s innovative, progressive rock style always absorbed many influences and was way ahead of its time in the ’70s. Giving the final performance of the evening on Friday, they sounded as awesome as ever, led by Peter Head (again) and Bateman, with John Carlini covering for the late Chris Bailey and Richard Semmens filling in for lead guitarist Mauri Berg due to illness. Both were outstanding.
Host John “Pembo” Pemberton welcomed Headband to the Hall of Fame, with Head accepting the award, alongside drummer Joff Bateman.
Folk artist Peter Thornton, decked out in pirate’s clothes for the occasion, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in a highly entertaining interview. A musician of great note on harmonica and button accordion, Thornton is also organiser of the highly regarded Fleurieu Folk Festival and is credited with introducing Aussie bush band music into Europe.
Robyn Archer needs no introduction and is the epitome of a worthy Hall of Fame inductee, having performed across virtually every medium, as well as directing both the Adelaide and Melbourne arts festivals, in what she describes as an accidental career. There were many setbacks along the way, from asthma to motorbike accidents, but nothing could stop her from fulfilling her initial promise.
The AMC showcase always opens with SA emerging acts and this time singer/songwriter Courtney Robb led the way with a spellbinding performance including a new song written just that morning. Goldstein followed with their rollicking bush band antics, beautifully played and amusingly presented, featuring folk-style songs about familiar local themes and places.
The next AMC showcase will be on June 3 at the Goodwood Institute, featuring musicians including No Fixed Address (with Bart Willoughby), Vonda Last and Corey Theatre.