Okay, yes. We all have a collective impression of tribute bands. Crap, B-grade, pretentious, corny, etc. I hate to be one to subvert, but The Doors of Perception, one of Melbourne’s most authentic Doors cover bands made me re-evaluate my former stance. Yes, I still agree that tribute bands are as a rule pretty woeful. However, I want to argue that The Doors of Perception are the exception. Cherry Bar, one of Melbourne’s most infamous rock venues, played host to a number of colourful characters that looked just about ready to enter a Buffy convention. Don’t ask me how I know this. The audience awaiting the pseudo Doors were gritty and unglamorous, complete with sci- fi pop culture referenced shirts and pot bellies. Some were wearing RIP Jim Morrison t-shirts under their flannies, others were dressed completely in black. There was even a couple at the front of the stage who were obviously more interested in each other than the band, refusing to come up for air. It was a messy and smelly spectacle, but a treat for a newcomer nevertheless. As a tribute band, The Doors of Perception, led by Brad Cook on vocals, perfectly emulated the original kings of acid rock. If you closed your eyes, it was The Doors at Whisky a Go Go, circa 1966. But nobody should have had their eyes closed, because it was the aesthetics too that were spot on. Wearing replicated outfits that were originally worn by The Doors during their ’68 performance at The Hollywood Bowl, The Doors of Perception simulated the movements of each original member. Dressed in an eerily similar white suit to the one Manzarek wore on the Bowl stage, the organist played his vintage Gibson organ and Rhodes piano bass with exact precision and skill. Each chord was hit perfectly and he even moved his head and foot in the exact same fashion as his hero. Brad Cook, aka the ersatz Morrison, played the latter to a tee, initially having his back to the audience. If you have seen the 1968 Hollywood Bowl performance on DVD, you would have been amazed at how closely they emulated the body language of The Doors. Brad would occasionally bend over on stage, with his back to the audience and his knees bent, just like Jim did. He would turn to the organist, nod his head to the bass and shake his maracas, just like Jim did. He was pretty damn good, but let’s not kid ourselves. He was not the lizard king, no matter how badly he wanted to be. His voice, though powerful lacked Morrison’s poetry and his physicality did not suggest a vulnerable androgyny, like Jim’s did. Yet, their instrumentals were flawless and meticulous. They opened with Not To Touch The Earth, and played favourites Light My Fire, LA Woman, Back Door Man, Break On Through, Riders On The Storm, When The Music’s Over and finally after nearly two hours, closed with The End, a powerful rendition that fortunately included the classic Oedipal allusions. Coming as close to The Doors as any other tribute band could, The Doors of Perception performed a truly authentic show, their only fault being that they weren’t the originals.



One thought on “LIVE REVIEW: THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION, Saturday July 6, Cherry Bar

  1. Great review! I must agree The Doors Of Perception too had me sceptical about whether or not they were just a bunch of guys throwing it all together and being under prepared/ rehearsed. I should’ve given Cherry credit they deserve because they wouldn’t host any old rubbish to celebrate the life of Ray Manzarek. I too could not believe the attention to detail, both visually and musically, I was very impressed by the note for note renditions, and being live, the energy level rocked, and yet they weren’t too loud, very much in keeping with what I’d imagine a Doors Whiskey show would’ve been like. I also agree that a double take was required because of the visual similarity on stage, but the sound was what grabbed me. Stepping outside into AC/DC Lane momentarily I could’ve sworn it was a Doors live recording being played by the DJ! This outfit’s members clearly take pride in presenting their idol’s music with the utmost respect, and for that I’ll be at another show for sure!

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