If the AFL grand final comes west, who should headline the pre-game show?

August 21, 2021 — 9.00am
August 21, 2021 — 9.00am

The AFL grand final has a chequered track record when it comes to the acts trucked in to provide entertainment before the bounce.

There have been plenty of highs – Powderfinger or The Killers, anyone? – but also plenty of times the music missed the mark completely.

Beautiful Optus Stadium. The perfect location for a full-crowd AFL grand final.

Beautiful Optus Stadium. The perfect location for a full-crowd AFL grand final.Credit:Getty Images

But with the prospect of a season finisher at Perth’s Optus Stadium increasingly looking like a fait accompli, footy fans can rest assured WA Premier Mark McGowan’s notoriously tough border rules will prevent another Meatloaf performance.

When the league finally resolves to tear the grand final away from its traditional home of the MCG, the next issue to mull over will be who to call in for the pre-game performance. Let’s run through some of the options – one of which is clearly the only logical choice.

First thing’s first: let’s keep it local. WA border rules aside, the state is such a rich vein of musical talent, it doesn’t make sense for the first (and perhaps only) grand final to be held here to feature an eastern states act for the pre-game show.

Anyway, with the chances of one of our teams actually making it all the way to the big dance excruciatingly slim, at least allow us some parochial satisfaction in featuring a West Australian band in the country’s biggest sporting event.

Many WA bands, naturally, also follow their footy closely. Eskimo Joe – big Dockers fans – were also keen to take to the stage for a WA grand final when similar discussions were being had last year, before the decision was made to host the game in rugby-mad Queensland.

Birds of Tokyo performed at the 2013 grand final, and leading members Ian Berney and Ian Kenny even penned a new theme song for the West Coast Eagles ahead of the 2020 season.


Kenny’s other acclaimed project, Karnivool, could also be a goer – they definitely wouldn’t put crowds to sleep, which was a common theme among the perennially whinging Twitter commentariat during last year’s grand final show.

But bands with members in other states could present logistical issues – it definitely rules out local electronic legends Pendulum, with two of the founding trio in the UK. I reckon Shockone would be happy to answer the call, though, if we were after a bit of bass.

If we want to steer the topic towards a more family-friendly atmosphere, what about San Cisco? Maybe someone could get the Jebediah crew together for the gig? Wait, is Kevin Mitchell still in Perth? On that note, where could we find Troye Sivan these days?

Look, if we’re going to have a grand final here, it has to be accompanied by a truly West Australian musical offering.

So, first thing’s first – let’s get The Pigram Brothers down from Broome.

And then to top it all off, bring in the only WA act that could match the historic nature of the occasion.

They’re perhaps one of the state’s – if not Australia’s – most successful musical acts, and the band’s figurehead is a local legend, often seen padding around our Port City (when he’s not down at his Yallingup studio in the state’s South West).

Playing the AFL grand final would add to their already extensive list of accomplishments, which include collaborations with Mark Ronson, Kanye West, Travis Scott and Rhianna. Not to mention headlining that small, boutique music festival Coachella. (You may have heard of it?)

And, perhaps most importantly, they’re a big fan of footy – in fact, they’re the Fremantle Dockers’ No.1 ticketholder this year.

I’m talking, of course, about Tame Impala.

Fremantle Dockers No.1 ticketholder Kevin Parker. Also the face of a relatively successful band called Tame Impala.

Fremantle Dockers No.1 ticketholder Kevin Parker. Also the face of a relatively successful band called Tame Impala.

So come on Gil, let’s address the Elephant in the room. Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?

A grand final with no crowds would be like a Half Full Glass of Wine. Solitude is Bliss, sure, but tell that to the players who would have to endure a season finisher in front of empty stands.

Go on, Let It Happen. Bring the grand final to the sunny west; we’ll chuck plenty of Single Fins, Swanny Ds, red eggs and Creatures on ice.

And in the meantime, can someone pop down to Freo to ask Kevin Parker if he’s keen for the gig?

Cameron Myles is the homepage editor for WAtoday.

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