The Angels: Kickin’ Down The Door Opening Night Gala

The Angels: Kickin’ Down The Door Opening Night Gala
Wed Oct 19, 6:00 PM
Adelaide Film Festival
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Not so long ago I was at a karaoke night at the Commercial hotel in Port Adelaide as the iconic opening riff to the Australian classic, “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” blared from the speakers. I looked around and noticed a clear lift of spirits in the immediate audience, as we all knew this was a song any Australian worth their salt could get on board with. As the call back commenced to the song’s namesake question, we dutifully shouted “No Way! Get F*cked! F*ck Off!“. My friend turned to me and asked quizzically, ‘how did you all know how to say that?’, I promptly asked him where he’d been all his life?

Fast forward to last night, I found myself in quite the mixed bag of Australians, some clearly heralding from the local arts community, a smattering of politicians and social types, but a strong representation of a group of people that looked like they would have been at the forefront of the pub rock scene of the 70’s and early 80’s. I ventured to enquire with a few – what brought you here tonight?

The common thread, I am just here to see The Angels.

Some had travelled far and wide from regional towns to interstate, just for the opportunity to attend the world premiere of The Angels: Kickin’ Down the Door, alongside the original and new band members.

Jack Kanya Kudnuitya Buckskin, performed a Kaurna Welcome to Country, reflecting on the importance of his ability to reclaim his language and speak it on Kaurna land, something that until recently was not even possible, let alone celebrated as it is now.

The Festival was then opened by CEO and Creative Director Mat Kesting who has impressively contributed to the growth of the AFF as well as curating the film component of many Adelaide festivals. These achievements were not unnoticed by Premier Peter Malinauskas who took the stage and, and in this sympathetic crowd, likely gained some political mileage out of his announcement to inject a further $2million into the festival, thus making it an annual occurrence.

Adelaide director, Madeline Parry (Hannah Gadsby: Nanette) then took the stage to introduce her documentary, the story of local band who did not walk a straight and rising line to fame but scrambled through trials and triumphs and ultimately created a story worth telling.

We then filed in over multiple cinemas and watched as the documentary took us on the twists and turns that it was to have a band on the precipice of breaking the United States music industry in the late 70’s. This was a rock documentary that pulled on all the threads, the formation of the band with two brothers at the heart, trying to find ‘the right’ drummer, the commercial reality of the industry, the tensions between touring and trying to keep a family, a front man struggling with being the eccentric and enigmatic performer while wishing for a quieter life. Essentially, they knew they got close, but were glad to be the ones that ‘kicked the door down’ allowing for the future success of Australian bands on the world stage. Shot in a solid documentary format with historical footage, contemporary interviews and commentary from those who saw it all go down, this is a must watch for anyone interested in local music history.

Pouring out of the cinema onto Rundle street, we were greeted by a Brass band who led us to the Adelaide University Cloisters for The Angels to play a unique performance to an audience who had just witnessed their life’s story. It was a poetic moment with the band’s guitar players lined in formation to play that iconic riff, and when the question was posed to the crowd, they all knew how to answer.

Tamara Haines

Adelaide Film Festival 2022 runs from 19-30th October. Buy Tickets here.

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