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July 2017. Images and info provided by Joanna Sourvas.

Midnight Oil: The Time Has Come...

An aggressive rock sound, an acute awareness of political, social and environmental issues, and the ability to shake the cage and move any generation, legendary Australian rock band and agitators Midnight Oil are coming to South Africa for the first time in over two decades! The Johannesburg show on 29th July, Marks Park is the only SA show included as part of their current sold out 'Great Circle' World Tour.

Those who grew up in the nostalgic '80s will remember the blistering lyrics to Beds Are Burning - Oils biggest international hit single which peaked at No. 6 in Australia, No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on the UK singles charts. How Can We Dance When Our Earth Is Turning, How Do We Sleep While Our Beds Are Burning is a protest song in support of giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert.

"We thought land rights needed to be sorted because we came at it from the city, to find that people had country taken away and were struggling to take it back," said Garret, explaining how the anthem was written to drown out the triumphalism and remind the nation it was founded on genocide.

"In retrospect Beds Are Burning was the song we were born to record. It’s got all the bits to make it work; strong rhythms, good melody and the lyrics had some punch, while being very Aussie. It took a while to stick. It’s incredible how much it still gets played around the place. Who would have thought an Aboriginal land rights song would travel that far?”

Midnight Oil’s tenth studio album, Earth and Sky and Moon, retreated from the studio slickness of Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky Mining in order to recapture the rough-edged sound of the band’s early pub days. To record the set, the group rented a small facility near Sidney’s international airport and relied on spontaneous musicianship rather than hi-tech wizardry. The result was a highly personal collection of sounds.

To date, Midnight Oil has released 17 albums, with sales of more than 10 million worldwide. Our favourite Oils lyrics? No doubt, from the iconic The Power the Passion. “It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees”.