The Peter Perrett up on stage tonight is not the decrepit, drug-addled shell of a man that rock mythology would have us assume.
He’s no strapping, Springsteen-like dynamo either, but for his 63 years, bantam spec and colourful history of substance abuse, Perrett seems to have a lucid, gimlet eye on his future.
It helps that he’s flanked by sons Peter Jr (bass) and Jamie (guitar) – “Family is everything,” he says, in praise of his remarkably well-adjusted bandmates, and manager-wife Xena.
Beneath a trademark brunet tangle and dressed in a cap-sleeved top, his pipe-cleaner embrace clamps his Fender tightly for a 90-minute set that includes (Oh Lucinda)…, Prisoners and the inevitable Another Girl, Another Planet. “Some of my songs aren’t about drugs… but this is about drugs,” he announces in familiar like-it-or-loathe-it Estuary Dylanese before particularly autobiographical rocker The Beast is Chinese-lanterned by Jamie’s psychedelically stirring solo.
New songs Living In My Head and An Epic Story show his “therapy sessions” with Primal Scream’s Douglas Hart (present tonight with Bobby Gillespie) are bearing tentative, but listenable, fruit. However, it’s in the spotlight, encoring alone for Is This How Much You Care and C Voyager, that the audience swoon most to his bittersweet bedsit romancing.
Life is Perrett’s hardest habit to break; the end’s not so predictable.