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Fremantle Readies Itself for Some High Voltage Rock’n’Roll

New event High Voltage will celebrate the life and legend of Bon Scott across the streets and stages of Fremantle, and Body Type are all for it

High Voltage

Jess Wyld

“And you ask me why I’m in a band,” Bon Scott wailed in the 1975 AC/DC song that has lent its name to WA’s latest public celebration of the Fremantle-raised hellraiser’s life, times and music, High Voltage

On Sunday, May 7th, Fremantle will open its arms to the memory of Scott with a free community celebration that will see live music and festivities roll out all afternoon across the streets of Fremantle as well as Fremantle Oval, Wilson Park and the Esplanade Reserve. Seven trucks ferry iconic Aussie artists and bands around a 5km circuit of the port city as they cover their favourite AC/DC songs. 

Confirmed acts so far include DIESEL, Natalie Gillespie & Friends, Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, Eddie Perfect, The Southern River Band, The Desert Stars, Dan Sultan, Katy Steele, Whole Lotta Love, DICE, Barry Morgan, DJ Bee Rizzi, Junkadelic Brass Band, Billy Damage & The Jinja Assassin, Datura4, Perth Saxophone Rockers, and Body Type.

For emerging rockers Body Type there’s plenty of reasons to be in a band, one being the opportunity to play at an event that celebrates the spirit of a hugely influential and beloved local legend.

“We’re all really stoked to be a part of it,” says bass player Georgia Wilkinson-Derums. “I would say we’re all big AC/DC fans and it’s an incredible thing for Freo to be doing, really. I didn’t initially realise the scale of it. There’s things happening all around Freo. So I think it’s a fantastic thing to be happening.”

“I certainly agree,” echoes vocalist/guitarist Sophie McComish. “It’s really cool that they’ve put funding into this. It’s a very unique way to celebrate such an iconic Australian band and it feels like the community will really get behind it and support it.”

Body Type

Body Type / Image Credit: Toni Wilkinson

A State-owned event produced by Perth Festival’s out-of-season Special Projects arm, presented by Tourism WA and supported by the City of Fremantle, High Voltage follows on from 2020’s massive Highway To Hell event, which saw a crowd of almost 150,000 gather along a 10km stretch of Canning Highway a few short weeks prior to WA being shut down due to the onset of COVID-19.

The new event was announced at a media launch on March 12, with WA Premier Mark McGowan, Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Roger Cook and the Mayor of Fremantle, Hannah Fitzhardinge in attendance. Body Type – whose second album, Expired Candy, is released via Poison City Records on June 2nd – performed at the launch, playing a cover of “High Voltage” as well as their newly-released single, “Miss The World”.   

“We had a really good time, and they were all getting into it,” says Wilkinson-Derums. “It turns out politicians are real rock stars in their own special way.”

“Although we were playing on the back of a truck and it was absolutely scorching,” adds McComish. “I thought my pedalboard was going to melt, but that kind of added to the rock’n’roll, I guess.”

The rock’n’roll, of course, is at the heart of the matter. And while Body Type’s songs don’t back away from addressing the kind of male archetypes that Scott’s rather lascivious lyrics may have often represented, Wilkinson-Derums cites ‘the world’s first female roadie’ Tana Douglas, who in her recent book, Loud, described AC/DC during her experiences working with the band in the mid-’70s as being nothing but respectful.  

As for Bon Scott’s continued status as a rock’n’roll icon, she has no doubt that it’s well deserved. “As an icon, he definitely had that larrikin appeal,” Wilkinson-Derums says. “He appeals to a broader Australian sensibility, in a way, as being a trickster, he was kind of a ratbag and everyone likes to see someone that’s down to earth and who was succeeding.

“But also, he’s kind of hot. He’s sexy. He had a fucking awesome voice. I mean, Sophie and I were trying to sing his parts at the launch and our voices were like, shredded. He was really, really talented. And a bit of a star.”

High Voltage takes place around Walyalup/Fremantle from 1pm on Sunday, May 7th. For full details head to highvoltagewa.com.au