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The Rock-itt : June 2010
It was a really special night at the Sandringham Hotel as the Hitman were celebrating their 30th Birthday. I've been a big fan of the Hitman and remember seeing them at one of their earliest gigs ever at the Stage Door Tavern, Sydney when they supported Mi-Sex who had just come over to Australia and I believe may have been one of their first gigs here. Since that show I have been to countless number of Hitman shows and one thing that I have always been impressed with is the way the band involves the crowd, particularly when singer, Johnny Kannis engages himself with the crowd. I have lost my voice many times singing along with "I Don't Mind" and many other favourites when Johnny often passes the mike down to the crowd to have a sing. Johnny loves to get amongst the punters and would often leap off the stage, as he recently did at the Gaelic Club when his landing was not as soft as he expected! But as a true Rock 'n Roll soldier, along with the band, put on one of the most impressive performances to date. The Hitman are one of the country's most storied and colourful acts. Arising from the ashes of Radio Birdman (ARIA Hall of Fame inductees) and revolving around singer Johnny Kannis and guitarist Chris "Klondike" Masuak (ex Radio Birdman). On their recent tour they have been joined on stage by ex-member Brad Shepherd (Hoodoo Gurus), Ron Peno (Died Pretty), Mick Medew (Screaming Tribesmen) and were also joined on tour by Niagara from US bands Destroy all Monsters and Dark Carnival which featured members from The Stooges. The Hitman are Tony 'The Kid' Robertson (Drums), Tony 'Juke' Jukic (Rhythm Guitar), Murray 'Muzz' Shepherd, Chris 'Klondike' Masuak (Lead Guitar) and singer Johnny 'Zeus' Kannis. Commencing proceedings were Dead Rabids who featured Bob Short from the legendary Sydney punk band, Filth whose vocalist back then was Pete Tillman of the Lipstick Killers. It was great to hear some old Filth classics such as "Thalidomide Child", "Curse On You" and "Do the Harold Holt" to name a few with Bob and his band doing a mighty fine job of them! The full house capacity crowd and loyal supporters gave the Hitman the huge reaction they deserved as they opened the set fittingly with "The Party Starts Now". They then went on to play such classic songs as "Big Love", "Go Run No Show" (not played in a long time), "When Worlds Collide", "It is what it is", "Ice" (Screaming Tribesman Hit), "Death Grip", "Corridors of Power", "Didn't Tell the Man" (Hitman's big radio hit and crowd favourite as we all sang along!), "Bwana Devil", and finishing off the set with "Don't Fear the Reaper" for a well deserved break! The second set saw Mick Blood of the Lime Spiders with the Hitman doing a cranking version of "Slave Girl" with a Psychotic Turnbuckle guitarist adding to the line up. The party was in full swing with a huge 30th birthday chocolate cake being broken over Johnny's head and Mick Blood having a 'cake facial' and a rare guest performance with Johnny's brother, Sammy joining in on the mayhem and celebrations! The second set saw lots of crowd favourites including "Everybody Knows", "I Don't Mind", "Pay up or Shut up" and "Shake some Action", and of course Johnny got amongst the crowd and climbed the rafters of the Sando Hotel. Everyone there was so blown away by the birthday bash that they didn't want it to end, neither did the band so a few more songs as an encore topped a brilliant night by the band. The Hitman rewarded all their loyal fans with a free live CD of the first set which was an amazing gesture and accomplishment by the band and crew to remember a very special night....good onya guys! Speaking to Tony Jukic recently he commented, "We had a ball doing what we like to do and making the crowd part of the band is very important to us!" Johnny Kannis recently told me, "We had a blast. .. I wish we had some cake to eat after the show but it ended up in my face, on stage!" The Hitman will return when we least expect them to so stay tuned to www.hitmendtk.com By Dave Tozer.com.au For all the photos from the night go to www.myspace.com/davetozerphotos