Disco Inferno takes over Kings Park with the big stars of the seventies

A Day of The Green KC & the Sunshine Band, The Village People, Sister Sledge, Marcia Hines

The disco magic of the seventies was alive and well at A Day on the Green with an impressive lineup that featured some of decade’s biggest stars.

For those who got down to Kings Park early Australia’s own Marcia Hines got the party started. Working her way through a series of classic disco tunes, many which feature on her Discotheque album, Marcia had the crowd up and dancing in the late afternoon. Dressed in an amazing green sparkled jumpsuit Marcia performed songs including If You Could Read My Mind, Disco Inferno and Never Can Say Goodbye. Marcia was joined by two lively male backing singer including Velvet cast mate Tom Oliver. ★ ★ ★ 

Sister Sledge featured a full live band and cleverly mixed their classic disco hits in with newer sounds which kept the music sounding fresh. The trio drew from not only their own catalogue of hits, but also some Chic tunes as well – which seems fair enough given that Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers penned their biggest hits.

Originally a foursome, today Sister Sledge features original members Kim and Debbie, who are joined my a third vocalist.

The natural mash up Good Times with Rapper’s Delight was a lot of fun, when the band launched into He’s the Greatest Dancer,  with a selection of the most outrageously dressed audience members brought on stage to join in. Their mid 80’s hit Frankie was not forgotten either.

Lost in Music gave the girls a chance to introduce the band, which included Thaddeus White IV, the son of sister Joni Sledge, who passed away earlier this year. He joined his aunts on vocals for We Are Family.  Basking in the glow of the marriage bill passing though parliament, what better song to hear as the sun set on a historic day. ★ ★ ★ ★   

Next up on the bill was The Village PeopleThis was not the same line-up of the band that visited Perth earlier this year. Following decades of legalities, the band is now back in the control of original singer Victor Willis.

Willis was the writer of the band’s biggest hits, but he quit the group in the late 70’s just before they filmed Can’t Stop the Music. Willis rejoined the band for one album in 1982, before departing for a second time.

Willis appeared on stage dressed in his cop uniform, and behind him were the recognizable figures of a construction worker, leather-man, cowboy, Indian and GI. Some of the singers taking on these roles have previously performed with the band, but longstanding members Felipe Rose, Ray Simpson and Alex Briley are no longer in the group.         

They launched into some of the band’s early and lesser known songs including Fire Island, San Francisco and Hot Cop. Willis joked in his gruff voice that he was no longer a ‘hot cop’, and he cut a strange silhouette on stage, portly, and wearing a helmet that obscured his face from the audience.

Willis strutted back and forth in front of the other members, akin to drill sargeant. There was some sort of scripted banter between him and the other characters, but it was inaudible.

Macho Man featured some choreography that The Leatherman seemed challenged by, while the GI just didn’t seem to bother joining in.

After a few songs Willis left the stage announcing a costume change, the remaining members declared that Willis had also written many hits for other artists, before launching into a medley of tunes, performing just a line or two from each one, and then stopping to remind the audience that the song was written by Victor Willis.

After some songs recorded by The Ritchie Family and others, the band did a very short version of Milkshake before tackling Can’t Stop the Music. Willis returned to the stage and demanded that they did stop the music, halting the song mid chorus.

The singer was still clad in his cop outfit, he mumbled something about his expected In the Navy uniform, we just presumed it didn’t fit anymore. The band then launched into In the Navy with Willis delivering the verses almost as spoken word performance. The live band providing the music sped up and slowed down noticeably as the song progressed.

The dismal performance ended with their classic YMCA, but most of the audience couldn’t be bothered raising their hands, and the energetic horde of dancers that had filled the side of the stage for Marcia Hines and Sister Sledge shuffled from side to side and passed the time.

I wondered if this was the worst performance I’d ever seen. I’ve been thinking about it since last night. It’s definitely in the top 5 atrocities I’ve ever witnessed.             

Final act KC and the Sunshine Band featured a huge accompaniment of musicians, including a huge brass section, singers and dancers. Front man Harry Wayne Casey took to the stage in a peach jacket with silver trim, and the showed off some impressive dance moves as he worked his way through a cavalcade of chart toppers including (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty, Boogie Man and Get Down Tonight.

The ballad Please Don’t Go created a massive sing-a-long moment and by the time the band delivered Keep it Comin’ Love and Give It Up, the crowd were on their feet and dancing wildly. Despite having more than enough hits of their own the band also threw in a couple of tunes that were hits for other artists including The Jackson’s Shake Your Body Down to the Ground and The Commodores Brick House.

During a chat break with the audience Casey noted that he was now sixty six years old, exclaiming “What happened!” to the audience. Acknowledging that he’d put on a few pounds over the years he joked that he’d considered renaming the band KFC and the Sunshine Band. Advancing years and weight gain did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm for a party though, and throughout the show he danced and sang like crazy. ★ ★ ★ ★

Graeme Watson

Support OUTinPerth

Thanks for reading OUTinPerth. We can only create LGBTIQA+ focused media with your help.

If you can help support our work, please consider assisting us through a one-off contribution to our GoFundMe campaign, or a regular contribution through our Patreon appeal.

Become a Supporter→     Make a contribution→