Back to the good old days

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Wendy Matthews

If you’re a music fan who prefers to hear your favourite songs blasting through amps rather than earphones, you’ve probably been lamenting the state of the live music industry of late.

Music venues are closing at an alarming rate and gig nights seem to be few and far between as other forms of entertainment take hold.

But there’s still plenty of people in the industry whose love for live music has never wavered.

Perfectly encapsulating this passion is the upcoming Back to Reactor 1 concert which will be heading to the Evan Theatre at Penrith Panthers next month.

Like a mini music festival, Back to Reactor 1 – whose name references the old Reactor 1 nightclub which was located in the Panthers complex – will feature 10 acts playing 30 of their biggest hits live.

The line-up is a who’s who of Australian musicians from the 80s and 90s including Ross Wilson, Eurogliders, 1927, Mark Gable, Richard Clapton, Sharon O’Neill, Swanee, Steve Kilbey, Rose Tattoo and the hugely talented Wendy Matthews.

Aside from a couple of small line-up changes this group of musicians has been getting together for these compilation shows for over a year now and Wendy said they’ve been having an absolute ball.

“We have just as much fun backstage as I think they do out the front,” she laughed.

“I’ve never quite done anything like this before, so it’s a first for me. It’s good fun, it’s something completely different than just hanging out with my guys and touring.”

In keeping with the rock theme of the evening, Wendy’s portion of this huge three hour show will feature some of her more upbeat tracks including the mega hit ‘Let’s Kiss (Like Angels Do)’.

Wendy is also currently touring her solo work including her extensive back catalogue and tracks from her most recent album ‘The Welcome Fire’ which she co-wrote with Aussie artists including Josh Pyke and Megan Washington.

Wendy’s aim has always been to stay away from musical trends, a move which has seen her still producing new music while attracting a wide range of fans.

“I look out at some of my concerts and I see a 14-year-old girl and her mother, and her grandmother, it’s really lovely,” she said.

“I can see three generations of women sitting in front of me and that’s the stuff I really love to see.

“To me it’s a reaction to the fact the grandmother and the 14-year-old don’t see [my music as] being time pigeonholed. In that way I’ve really succeeded in what I wanted to do.”

While Wendy still manages to tour regularly she’s well aware of the fact that the live music industry is struggling to compete for people’s attention, but she is hopeful that things will turn around.

“Things go in cycles so who knows, maybe it will cycle right back,” she said.

Regardless of the future of live music one thing’s for sure, as long as there’s people who are willing to embrace concerts like Back to Reactor 1 there will always been a place for music geeks to go.

Back to Reactor 1 will be on at the Evan Theatre on Saturday, April 30 at 8pm. Tickets are $89. Visit www.penrith.panthers.com.au or call 4720 5555.

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