The times being what they were, the entrepreneurial man of the moment decided to parlay the profit from the store into a rock festival to be held at the Townsville showgrounds.

Remembering that I wasn’t intimately involved in these developments, the exact details are somewhat hazy and the exact circumstances surrounding the event may differ significantly from Hughesy’s recollections, but I seem to recall being enlisted to assist in collecting money at the gate, an assignment that lasted about as long as it took the first band to set up and start playing.

The siren song had nothing to do with quality of musical output because the opening act, who traded under the name of Thor, were a particularly undistinguished aggregation. With a nod towards Steppenwolf’s heavy metal thunder they’d named themselves after the Norse God of Thunder though my social circle, in all our late-teen sophistication, had christened this particular outfit the Chunder God.

Nearly forty years later I don’t recall much of what took place that afternoon but I distinctly remember three things.

There was a vocal and guitar call break in the middle of Barabbas’ headline set that I recognised a year or two later in the Allman Brothers Band’s Black Hearted Woman. Considering the fact that it took another couple of years for the ABB to make it big that meant that a copy of their first album, which was recorded earlier that year, had made it to Cairns within a mere matter of months.

Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon there was a little half-hour set by a jazzy little piano, bass and drums trio called Mattoid, featuring my mate Eric’s sister Irma, that closed with Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

And towards the end of Thor’s opening set I was standing next to Mattoid’s bass player when I suggested that if we were to put a band together from scratch, even with minimal rehearsal we couldn’t be that much worse than Thor.


B© Ian Hughes 2012