Sounds From Down Under

The Fox hosts Midnight Oil.


Midnight Oil.

Here in the United States, us Seppos think of Australia as the land of novelty rock, where the music consists entirely of loving odes to beer, booze, and drinking (and often the inevitable chundering that follows a night of too much of those three things) with constant references to kangaroos, which, let’s face it, are hilarious just from their name.

Whether it’s Men at Work singing about a mythical land down under or Rolf Harris’ dying stockman imploring his mates to tie me kangaroo down, sport, it’s hard to take Australian rockers seriously. But Midnight Oil proves that music down under is no joke. These hard rock beats hide powerful social messages often lost on U.S. audiences; the band’s best-known song, “Beds are Burning,” is a scathing indictment of the Australian government’s treatment of the Aboriginal Pintupi people, and “Power and the Passion” references Australia’s 1975 constitutional crisis that ended with the dismissal of the prime minister.

Always political, frontman Peter Garrett left the band to pursue a political career dedicated to progressive and environmental causes in 2002, but the band is getting back together for a 2017 world tour.

May 27, 8 p.m., $39, Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.


Published online on May 23, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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