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‘Australians Love an Anti-Hero, Don’t They?’: High Voltage Set to Rock’n’Roll Freo

Ahead of High Voltage taking over Fremantle, Cash Savage ponders the legend and legacy of Bon Scott

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks High Voltage festival

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks

Naomi Lee Beveridge

When Cash Savage and her band The Last Drinks kick off a national tour in support of their new album So This Is Love in Fremantle this week, their West Coast visit will be topped off nicely by an appearance at High Voltage – the Port City’s free all-day celebration of AC/DC icon, Bon Scott, on Sunday, May 7th. 

Live music and festivities will rock the streets of Fremantle with stages at Fremantle Oval, Wilson Park and Esplanade Reserve being complemented by seven trucks ferrying a choice selection of Australian artists and bands around a 5km circuit as they perform AC/DC classics.

One of those trucks will feature Cash Savage, who feels that Scott is most deserving of such a celebration.

“Well Australians love an anti-hero, don’t they?” she laughs, “and Bon’s a perfect anti-hero. I’m a big AC/DC fan, but I’m also a big AC/DC-Bon Scott fan. I’m not really a huge fan past the Bon Scott years and one of my favourite recordings I used to listen to was when triple j did a Live At The Wireless that was a concert of AC/DC from 1977. It was just a pub gig, but it was phenomenal, and Bon’s presence was amazing. Even just coming off what I’m guessing was a desk recording…  his presence was just huge.” 

Born in the Angus county town of Forfar in Scotland, Bon Scott was raised in Fremantle from the age of 10 and the Port City holds his memory dear to its heart. Just prior to the pandemic in March 2020, Perth Festival – which is also producing High Voltage – gathered near on 150,000 people along nearby Canning Highway for its inaugural Bon celebration, Highway To Hell. His grave is at Fremantle Cemetery and a life-size statue of the man stands proudly at the Fishing Boat Harbour. Each are must-visit destinations for both locals and tourists. 

“He’s just as much folklore as he is a real person,” Savage states, pondering Scott’s enduring popularity and the general public’s ongoing fascination with him. “The way people talk about AC/DC back then, people have told me stories about sneaking into AC/DC when they were 16 and there’s just this folklore about them. 

“I don’t know what it is about him. I hate to say it, but it could be a little bit to do with the fact that he died and that we never really got to see the full extent of what Bon Scott was capable of. And the idea that AC/DC could have gone on to have that stadium career with him at the front instead… I don’t know, what would that have been like? Would they have been as big had they not made Back In Black?  Was that fame coming for them anyway? I’m not sure.”

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’s huge line-up also features DIESEL, Natalie Gillespie & Friends, Eddie Perfect, The Southern River Band, The Desert Stars, Dan Sultan, Katy Steele, Whole Lotta Love (Carla Geneve, Tony Papa-Adams, Shaun Liddell Jennings, Delilah Rose & Friends), DICE, Barry Morgan, DJ Bee Rizzi, Junkadelic Brass Band, The Jinja Assassin & Billy Damage, Datura4, Perth Saxophone Rockers, Body Type, Soukouss With Tina Zando, School of Rock’s Jersey Street and Twelve Parsecs.

For Savage, High Voltage is a right rockin’ launchpad for The Last Drinks’ national tour (tickets on sale via cashsavage.com.au) which crosses the country throughout May and June in support of their first album in four years.  

“I guess this is all about his career and who he was,” Savage says. “I mean, he took a dirty guitar band and made them different – a little bit left-of-centre – and somehow managed to make it not so dude-bro by being a masculine guy that could also come out in a school dress and pull it off. 

“So I’ve always been a big fan. And you know, he seemed to have a good sense of humor about himself, and I always like it when people have a sense of humour about themselves.”

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