Katie J White

Mister / The Regular Hunters, Mojo's, Sunday 03rd April 15

Following the sensational reception at the recent Fairbridge Festival this was a big night for Katie J Webster and her band. Although Katie J Webster’s latest recording has been available for about four weeks this evening was the official launch of the “Katie J White” EP.

 

The opening support band, “Mister” turned out to be the KJW drummer on lead vocals/guitar with a drummer and bass player.

The KJW sax player and Katie J herself guested on several numbers. As announced by Scott (?)  this turned out to be a jam set as the three, come five, musio’s had never really played together as a musical enclave before. The jagged, chopped, almost jazz pulsations and at times tongue in cheek lyrics integrated into danceable tunes with a Tom Waite type sound.

As well as being an entertaining opening it also demonstrated the musical muscle that is flexed in the KJW band.

 While we were still trying to work out whose cheek “Mister”s tongue was in up fronted “The Regular Hunters”.

 

With a dark and moody but danceable start the melodies transposed into pervading upbeat chords. Dreamy, strong vocals of front woman Leah Miche were fermented with additional backing vocals from the drummer.

It is up for discussion if it was the drummer being the same gender that added additional added texture and lilt to vocal harmonies. The bansd’s percussive work is worth a mention as is the supporting guitar and bass.

The “Regular Hunters” were well received and had the gathered dancing in front of the tables by the end of the set. They also have a newly released EP titled “Surreal” which was purchased post gig. This recording is well worth a listen as, going against the normal, it is a good translation of the live environment.

As I was transfixed by the aforementioned performances somewhere, sometime Mojo’s bar had filled up. The full house was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Katie J White and band as the minutes slowly ticked by.  When Katie J and her band hit the stage it soon became apparent why this set was being so hotly anticipated. Katie J has not only a commanding voice but a commanding stage presence without being bombastic or egotistical. The work on the fretless bass is faultless and goes into deep funk channels. The front woman also moves with the grooves, and as a female fan (Mojo’s Mother Mary side) rejoiced on several occasions, struts in a dam sexy manner.

All the EP cuts were given a run with opener “Gypsy” being the set opener. Already well known “Warrior” also received a huge roar of approval. Reggie beats also mix in the song list, transmuting into the audience into a moving wave of constantly gyrating energy.  A big factor of this tsunami of wellness is the rounded sound the talented sax player adds. Additionally the layers of smooth resonance added by the keyboards completes the musical magic circle.

The approximate one hour twenty minute set seemed to fly past as the talented band shared their love. Katie J was visibility touched by the support she and the band received by the large Sunday night turnout. I turn the audience acknowledged their appreciation by enthusiastically cheering individual band members when introduced by Katie J. The biggest roar, which did seem endless, was reserved for guitar maestro Daniel Hearn.

With five minutes to go before the 10pm curfew the band erupted into one of Katie J’s original compositions as a much demanded encore. Mojo’s onlookers were left sweaty, satisfied and sailed into cool night heart warmed.

 

Ace Frehley

Psychonaut /  Legs Electric, Astor Theatre, Thurs 07 May 2015 

Great start to the night as Ausland181 made it in with camera unobserved. The main aim was to capture Legs Electric in action in the natural environment… ripping it up on a Rock’n’Roll stage … the bigger the better!!

 

Ace Frehley was to be the added extra, the icing on the cake but once again the Universe demonstrated something’s don’t always as planned.

 

Yes you can call me mad, call me sad but just don’t call me on time or even while playing a hand for tonight The Astor was holding an Ace.

 

The opening act were already kicking it up when I get into the venue with my temporary hunchback unquestioned.  Perth’s Psychonaut were rocking it up in the cover as a guitar four piece. Their sound was hard ‘n’ heavy as in Dave Mustine meeting Perth’s own Ragdoll.

 

Got set up and got a few snaps in on the move when eagle eyed security got me in their sights. Faster than a ferret up Jeff Martin’s trouser leg they swopped and escorted me out to hand over the offending aperture. Unable to trust a clock room return a deal was done and back to my car I scooted. The long and short of it was I missed the rest of Psychonaut’s kick arse set and never fulfilled capturing Perth’s rock photographers dream band onstage.

Legs Electric set up, tuned up and departed as the sound tracks of AC/DC and the likes got the filling venue wound up & on heat. As the stage lights went up the rat-a-tat attack of drums started, was filled in by feedback guitar and rumbling bass announcing the arrival of Laura McCormack (guitar) and the rocking Soanes sister’s Abby (bass) and Kylie (drums).

 

Then like the Rock Angel of Perth Ama Quinsee drifted down and “Illicit Love” blasted forth. The tempo was maintained by “Temptation Road” followed, then into the catchy single “Wanna Riot”.

 

Legs Electric were on fire and on the move. Ama’s strong vocals and Laura’s outstanding guitar work featuring Slash like poses taking the main focus. Not seeing through the camera lens for this gig has it’s benefits.

 

At one point when Laura was ripping up the fret board you just released how much practice had to have been put in to get this good. Equally I really noticed the value of the strong backing vocal of drummer Kylie. As her main job Kylie is a hard working drummer moving around the kit with strength and speed. Meanwhile on the bass sister Abby took a couple of numbers to really hit her stride and the now famous finger plucking bass runs rampaging throughout the remainder of the set.

 

Other numbers ‘Trigger’, ‘She’s Like A Saint’ and maybe ‘Kingdom’ were in the mix and completed the remainder of the set. When you see this rocking unit in action, getting tighter with each progressive show you just know you are looking at starts of the future.

 

If the song order is wrong you can blame it on Ace as he blasted what’s left of my brains …. One of the LOUDEST bands I’ve had the honour of witnessing live and raw.

 

After what appeared to be an extended wait Ace & his band blew onto the stage and figuratively speaking blew the roof of the Astor. As you would expect Ace’s playing was flawless & he commanded the stage with the presence of someone who has been there. His band displayed outstanding skills. Within a couple of numbers the bass player Chris Wyse was sweating with stage excursions. The drum sound was BIG and heavy with the owner of the pedestal, Scot Coogan, also being the possessor of some excellent vocal chords. Ace’s supporting rhythm and sometimes lead guitarist Richie Scarlet had a look of a healthy Keith Richards/Ron Wood (if there’s such a thing) and rocked out accordingly.

 

It was a show of phenomenal skill, dexterity, showmanship and volume. Ace certainly got Perth “Back in the New York Groove”!!

 

The Heartache State

Halfway, Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, Sat 09 May 2015 

Walking in early to an almost empty Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, is like descending into the bowels of a Rock’n’Roll purgatory. The anguish of waiting for the much anticipated “official” CD launch of headline act The Heartache State seemed to be an embodiment of the excellent décor.

 

With the Lords of Excess and Riffs, Sir Mick Jagger and Keef, looking down upon the various scenes that have passed through the years, and Yes with Elvis is still in the building, the Cherry Bar is one of the premier Rock’n’Roll establishments in Melbourne if not Australia.

 

It is indeed a privilege to witness any act here, and one must feel that in a perverse way it must also add to the pressure of performing here. To exceed and surpass expectations.

Opening act Halfway may have been feeling the perceived pressure, or the journey down from hometown Brisbane, Queensland been tiring, or the fact eight of them, yes eight, squeezing onto the small but hallowed stage, and last but least a heavy night on the previous eve that led to the downcast looks as they walked out on stage.

As Confucius says “Life is like a Chinese Dinner, it’s a combination” and so it was probably the case.  

Halfway are a rock act with country overtures featuring bass, drums, guitars times three, lap steel guitar, mini guitars and keyboards. The vocals are shared among the guitars. Heads down they got on with business. They came up with toe tapping songs that got the building crowd warmed up nicely and who responded accordingly. Indeed it was heart-warming to see Halfway smile as a collective after about the third number.

 

It was at this point the listeners began roaring their approval in increasing volume. From then on in their mojo was up and they hit their groove, personified by the swinging, but sitting lap steel guitar player. With four albums under the belt and an invite to the prestigious AmericanaFest in Nashville this year we wish them well for their ongoing journey.

Talking of trips The Heartache State represents another infusion of chemical goodness into the seemly never ending Nick Barker story. With a stellar line-up of Justin Garner ex Southpaw (lead guitar), Michael Hubbard ex Downhills Home, Eagle and the Worm (bass) and the legendary and irrepressible Venom (Electric Mary, Phil Para and long-time Nick Barker collaborator post The Reptiles) on drums.

 

They kicked off with the very upbeat singalong Stones like ‘Bones of My Heart’ featuring some excellent slide work from Justin. The beat was kept up with the almost anthem-like ‘No Good Alone’. The beat was driven by Venom who hits the drums that hard it just drives up the volume and the others compete to be heard. ‘Minimum Wage’ followed which has such a laid back beat that comes across smooth, even in the live setting.

 

Apparently the theme is connected with New Zealand but I may have missed the message in one of Nicks many shares, regaling the assembled with stories of the inspiration behind the refrains. ‘The Broken H’ was inspired by school yard break-ups pre world wide web and the interconnectedness of technology that makes one even more remote.  ‘April 30’ was one of the two ballads of the show with the gentle picking of guitars.

 

It also allowed Venom to get some breath back. Indeed watching him thrashing the skins, gulping in air, one gets the feeling that it’s drumming that connects Venom to life. Without it the man would not survive in the world.

What could have been the title song of the night ‘Back in the Game’ possess a riff that Keef would have been proud but Mick could never carry it off the vocals with such aplomb. ‘Clockstar’ is a bit more poppy with an almost Bon Jovi like sing along, smile along choruses and verses.

‘SSRI’ featuring some exploding chords and finger picking bass runs brought the pace down again to let us all realign. ‘The Rainmaker’ rocked out before a rail against the ongoing nineties hipster sub-culture closed off the end of the set. All the tracks off ‘The Heartache State’ were given a run such is the strength and depth of the recording.

 

First encore was the only reach back into the depth of Nick Barker classics with ‘Imogen’ from the Nick Barker ‘Damm Mermaids’ recording. The following three numbers where, and I quote, “time to fuck around” for the band. However when a talented band fucks around you can be sure the out coming sound is no fuck up. They rock’ n’ rolled out with these numbers, which although I’ve heard before aren’t in my catalogue so have to go unnamed.

 

Nick Barker is as stoic as it gets with realism of everyday life reflecting in his lyrics. He may have lost some skin on the way but its grown back and scarred up nicely.

 

Stoic is also a term that could also be applied to his fans as name faces are familiar over the years and inspired some to travel from Bali and Perth to attend this event.

 

On a personnel note my pilgrimage was not only to hear the debut recording in the live and raw but to pay homage to the spirit that inspired Ausland181 to take to the air in the first place.

 

Long Live Rock’n’Roll, Long Live The Heartache State and Long Live Nick Barker !!

 

Dallas Frasca

The Tommyhawks, The Siren Tower, Mojo's, North Freo, Thur 14 May 2015 

Mojo’s had a plethora of musical talent on show in this event, the event being the tour kick-off for Dallas Frasca’s Australian “Love Army” tour.

Opening band The Tommyhawks are a Perth band with a unique style. With choppy guitar chords, danceable bass lines, at times orchestral drumming, smooth sexy sax and honey husky vocals the incredible gifted individuals meld into a musical unit that works so well. They were well received by the growing Thursday night spectators. If folk, blues, ska and punk were to have a love child it would be the Tommyhawks.

Some of their music is available on Soundclound and Youtube if you care to track them down. It leaves one with burning ears anticipating a full CD release.

Next band to Grace (Barbie) Mojo’s stage was the impressive The Siren Tower. The impassioned vocals and acoustic guitar of Grant McCulloch lead this unit into an exploration of distinctly Australian folk rock. Although Grant moved west from Victoria ten years ago they are (yet) another talented local band from Perth.  Electric lead/rhythm guitar, bass, drums and keyboards add to the complexity of the powerful output. The sound just begs to played in filled arena’s and would not be out of place in such interstate and overseas experiences. Their album “History of Houses” is impressively packaged format the builds the framework around equally impressive sounds.

With Melbourne based Dallas Frasca’s (the group) instruments set-up before they hit the stage it looked like it was going to be a no holds barred riff rock attack. And when they hit stage the assembled were not disappointed. By the ending of the first number spontaneous out bursts of head banging had already erupted amongst the assembled.

 

Dallas Frasca (the individual) has a fervent whiskey stained vocals of thunderous soul in the realms of Lisa Kekaula of The Bell Rays. Dallas Frasca (the group) has raw energy with guitarist Jeff Curran forever on the move ripping out riffs and solo’s that were lethal. Drummer Josh Eales pounded the drums with exuberant delight providing a launch pad for Dalla Frasca (the individual) to propel her amazing energy from.

A number of tracks from the new album “Love Army” were aired with “Rise”, “Success is the Best Revenge”, “You Are Beautiful” being amongst the nails that were hammered into limbs pining you to the wall..

 

However title track “Love Army” army slowed the pace down and was a dreamy space age rock number in the vein of Robin Trowers, Uli Jon Roth et al. A brilliant demonstration of musical dexterity.

Dallas Frasca (the individual) was also an entertainer getting into the crowd at one point and conducting troop sing alongs.

 

The love child of Simon Chainsaw, Robin Tower and Robin Trower known as Dallas Frasca is on the march and the Love Army is taking no prisoners !!

Get to a gig near you or if you can’t buy a copy today of “Love Army” and feel some of that Dallas Frasca Love.

 

Legs Electric

Maverick, Custom Royal, Indie Bar, Scarbourgh, Sat 16 May 2015 

Having previously witnessed Legs Electric live you know when they tout the two opening acts as being as “Maximum Rock’n’Roll” that this is what you are going to get. The Indie Bar gig was also a bitter sweet affair as it was a fund raiser for the ladies to leave WA and take their brand of “Maximum Rock’n’Roll” to the lucky east coast residents.

 

Opening outfit Maverick fired off the first round with southern style rock and boogie blues deep fried the Dixie way. To these ears they took us way down past the Dixon-Mason Line and discharged  a cannon roar of rock of such quality that would stand up alongside the likes of 38 Special, Molly Hatchet and The Outlaws with a harder edge. Yes they were that good!!

The man with the plan centre stage has a big presence, both physically and vocally. He shared licks and leads with his right hand man. The bass and drums were thunderous and gave an explosive edge to their set list broadside. It was remarkable that this line-up of Maverick have only been playing together for around the six month mark. A great start to the night to get the punter warmed up.

Custom Royal swaggered onto to stage, set-up and sound checked their levels. Young and brash they launched into their slick brand of rock. With great use of the effects and distortion pedals Dion Mariani rip out solo’s and riffs that dropped you to the floor. Lead vocals Mitchell MacKintosh was handling centre stage with self-confidence and aplomb. Bassist Cameron O'Loughlin put in great support work and underpinned the sound a solid sound. Meanwhile Darcy Barnard was pummelling the drum kit so hard I was sure there was going to be an irreparable injury to himself or the kit.

 

Their sound defiantly belongs to the gene of first decade of this century with the amalgamation of choppy guitar riffs & licks, technical wizardry, high energy and flowing solo’s. The ended their set with a nod to those that have gone before with the best version of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ I’ve ever heard. The earned their off stage swagger with the packed Indie Bar roaring their approval.

All eyes and ears were now on their mark to ready, set, go when Legs kicked into high gear. Once the ladies start they don’t stop and are constantly on the move. This means they weed out the high class photographers from amongst the wannabe’s (I belong in the latter category).

 

Front woman Ama’s has a powerful set of lungs that she uses to perfection. Belting out rockers like ‘Illicit Love’ with it’s jungle like beat, dangerous and raw. Laura McCormack doesn’t just play the lead and rhythm electric but masters it with dexterity and speed, her hands are in constant motion as she works the freeboard endlessly.

Moving from stage left to stage right uniting with bass sister Abby in heads down harmony, then fly’s back to stage left again. The evil bass lines of ‘Temporary Road’ pulsate out before drums, guitar and vocals kick in and another onslaught of riff rock’n’roll.

 

The assembled faithful rocked out with the band the rest of set, with favourites ‘Black Magic’ swirling lead breaks and shout along bridge of ‘Wanna Riot’ resonating with the masses.

Legs Electric have a bond with their fans working hard on and off stage, building a camaraderie with those that support the band. This affinity with the band has the audience dedicating “She’s Like a Saint’” to the Rock Maidens.

At Several interludes Ama Thanked, with a capital T, all those there for coming out on such a wet & wintery night to support them flying east. They powered through their set returning for an encore of AC/DC’s “Sin City”.

Let’s Hope the Knock Em Dead Sydney side and return to WA ready to kick some more ass in the not too distant future!!

If you missed Legs Electric tonight there's still time to catch them supporting Baby Animals / The Superjesus at the Charles Hotel Saturday 23rd May.

 

SHE WHO ROCKS - The Superjesus / Baby Animals

The Joy Elevation, Charles Hotel, North Perth, Fri 22 May 2015 

If the winners of the prestigious opening slot of the “SHE WHO ROCKS” tour the Joy Elevation had any pre-gigs nerves they did not show it. They fronted and delivered the goods.

 

Mia Joy has a Debbie Harry sounding voice to lead the tight unit of Rob Garnett (guitar), Brenton Scanbler (bass) and  Adam Rando (drums). The chunky riff’s from Mia & Rob perfected complemented the voice and swirling solo’s from Rob took the crowd higher. The at times funky bass and hard hitting drumming laid the foundation for a solid performance. They drew a good response from the growing masses at the sell-out gig and finished up with an excellent cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’. The Joy Elevation was indeed a Joy Experience.

Then it was time for the much awaited entrance of co-headlining acts. Unsure of who was hitting the stage first but as soon as the blond locks of Tim Henwood was sighted we knew who was about to  Rock’n’Roll. The lifelong Superjesus rhythm partnership of Stuart Rudd (bass) and Paul Berryman (drums) also walked on with Tim and were soon joined by the irrepressible Sarah McLeod.

 

The order of songs are a blur as they ran through the three album catalogue of strong and timeless material. The quality of songs such as ‘Shut Your Eyes’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Down Again’, ‘Secret Agent Man’, ‘Saturation’, ‘Second Son’ et al are beyond reproach. In the live setting they come across as raw, energetic, spirited rock anthems of indie rock. Driven by Sarah McLeod’s boundless vigour, vitality and dynamism translated into flawless musicianship, entertaining between song yarns (one of which Sarah paid homage to Suzie) and strong vocal story delivery.

 

One of the highlights was the first live performance of two new compositions. While having an unmistakeable Superjesus flavour they were still fresh and not did not carry a ghost of regurgitation of past said classic’s.

The Superjesus rocked and Sarah McLeod ROCKED !!

As Perth is the hometown of front women Suzi DeMarchi’s and founding members it was fitting that they were the headlining act. Also in terms of history and commercial success the Baby Animals also take precedence. Witnessing the band’s meteoric rise in the early nineties while based in Melbourne this band had the steepest upward trajectory I’ve had the fortune to come across.

 

Suzi carries the Rock’n’Roll attitude with poise and grace having been there and done it all. However the energy is also there so on the musical front the unit it is still crisp and animated. ‘Rush You’, Stoopid’, ‘Painless’ and ‘Email’ are just some the classics they covered.  Dave Leslie’s fret board mastery is at the highest level. The bass work of Dario Bortolin is fast and furious while the drum skill’s of Mick Skelton is legendary on the Australian music scene.

 

Suzi was delighted with the reception they received and in turn delighted the audience with tales of her youth in Perth, dating musicians, cheap wine and the Charles Hotel. They say if your smiling your wining and with the number of smiles being flashed around on stage this was a testament to the success of their set.

Such was the ferocity of their attack some of the stage fall back speakers blew up. However with their professionalism they carried on, overcame these technical obstacles and delivered an outstanding set.

 

Finishing off with ‘Early Warning’ they brought the first gig of the Australian tour to a storming conclusion.

 

Such was the standard of the first gig one can only hope that on the last night no one spontaneously combusts!

 

Motley Crue

Amberdown, Alice Cooper, Perth Arena, 23 May 2015 

Winners of 96FM completion to open for tonight’s show Amberdown took to the stage bang on time. Young and enthusiastic they took to the challenge with energy and gusto. To these ears their sound is an amalgamation of rocks styles.

Hindered by a murky sound that floated around Perth they enjoyed the opportunity, gave it all but left me slightly cold through no fault of their own.

 

Dressed as the deranged gentleman of Rock Alice Cooper hit the stage in top hat, can and Beetlejuice strips as if out for a night stroll. It was very much a greatest hits show with the famed Cooper theatrics. ‘Department if Youth’, No More Mr Nice Guy’, and ‘Poison’ with the crowd singing along with each tune.  The python was draped around his neck for ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’. With a blood stained butchers apron Alice turned into a giant monster, of course it had to me ‘Feed My Frankenstein’. Attacked by the sexy – ugly nurse Copper was confined to a straight jacket, injected and sent to the guillotine. Having his head removed in spectacular fashion he metamorphosed back into the living Alice we all love and finished with ‘School’s Out’. The tune itself was injected with lines from Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the World’.

 

However it was not just about Alice as he brought an awesome band featuring three guitarists (two male and one female), bass and drums. They flew around the stage and with a great light show this was an outstanding show.

Long live Alice and here’s hoping he returns soon.

As this was Motley Crue’s final tour and now album to promote we got what was expected, a greatest hits show with a blinding lights show, explosions, flame throwers and a drum solo to top all drum solo’s.

 

The explosive “Saint of Los Angles” launched the show and the band tore through the net numbers of Primal Scream” and “Wild Side”. A brief rest for a crowd chat and then we were off again with numbers from the first two LP (yes that’s how we rolled back then) “Looks That Kill”, “Knock Em Dead”, “Merry Go Round”, “Too Fast For Love” and “Ten Seconds Too Love”. A surprise cover of the punk anthem “Anarchy in the UK” resplendent with water gun totting road crew spraying the crowd.

 

Nikki set the pentagram that his mike hang from with a flame thrower attached to his bass. Not sure if the song was “Shout At The Devil” but it seemed appropriate. Rumbling bass initiated the uplifting “Dr Feelgood”.

Heart beat monitor’s on the screen and screaming feedback from the venerable Mick Mars meant it could only be “Kick Start My Heart”. The roller coaster rigging in the centre of the arena was introduced as Tommy Lee as the Cruicfly. It was unbelievable but yes strapped to his kit Tommy set off going from one end and back while the kit turned 360 degree flips. And no he did not drop a beat.

 

Scattily clad back singers, flashing breasts in the audience, flames, explosions, screaming guitars and a blond haired semi bare chested singer. Yes this was a Motley Crue show. Thirty plus years on they may not be the Livewires they once were but ‘Livewire’ still kicks ass.

 

At times Vince’s vocals did become blurred but after their history still being able to sing never mind run around stage is a miracle itself.

 

As they finished off their set and the full crowd shouted for more it seemed debase the Final Tour tag if the Crue returned to the main stage. A torchlight procession in the walk way turned out to be the band walking out to a small stage at the base of the roller coaster Cruecifly. “Home Sweet Home” was the appropriate final song as the stage went up in the air, hung while they played and retuned as the final chords ended.

Yes hats off to the final Australian gig of the Final Tour. Personally the journey started back at Castle Donnington festival 1984. Through the years the Crue has been a background sound to life. However life goes on and it’s ‘On with the Show’ for us all.

 

SHE WHO ROCKS - The Superjesus / Baby Animals

Valhalla Lights, Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane, Sat 13 June 2015 

Arriving some 20minites after the ticketed door opening time the smooth entry concealed the already assembled mass gathering of rock music aficionado’s.

Equally the somewhat industrial and placid façade of the Tivoli Theatre Brisbane belied the luxurious interior décor.

Opening act Valhalla Lights were already into their set when I arrived stage right. The thunderous chords and powerful voice of Ange Saul were commending attention. The heavy duty sound being laid down courtesy of axeman George Christie, bass player Brent Crysell and drums Deon Driver was hard and heavy.

They put in a rock solid performance and as well as warming up the crowd was a good promotion for their album “Krypton”.

The intro landscape of building chords fuelled the engine of the sold out 1500 capacity music hall. The in blinding lights and deafening rifts of “Ashes” The Superjesus exploded on stage. With the message “Rock Is Not Dead” emblazed on her chest Sarah Mcleod went on to prove that point enabled and supported by Tim Heywood (guitar), Paul Perryman (drums) and Stuart Rudd (bass).

Sarah was her irrepressible self, with eyes shining working up a sweat with her boundless energy. Sarah concentrated on letting the music do the talking Joe Perry style as it was about four numbers in before she addressed the assembled with her unbridled enthusiasm.

The sold out 1500 capacity Tivoli was the largest crowd for a show on the current tour. And also the loudest. The set list may have been reordered from the opening gig in Perth but all the classics (‘Gravity’, ‘Secret Agent Man’, ‘Second Sun’, ‘Sandfly’, ‘Shut My Eyes’ et al) were there along with the two new numbers.

It wasn’t just the sound that was more polished but also the moves. The energy flow from the large assembled cluster added to the benevolent attitude of The Superjesus.

It was also heart warming to see the headlining act lead lady, Suze Demarchi, watching The Superjesus going through their all-out Rock ’n’ Roll frontal attack. The inspiration watching the inspired, the teacher watching the student, a legend of Aussie rock watching another legend in action or just a rock music fan watching another?

Finishing the energetic off  with ‘Summers Over’ The Superjesus left a well satisfied pack now at bursting point.

And if the dam gates were about to burst then the lighting strike of the Baby Animals would be the hammer strike to finish the job.

From the moment when the waterfall rhythms of ‘Rush You’ opened the set the band were on fire with Suzie leading the way with her voice as powerful as ever. Dave Leslie was on cutting edge form, noticeably more smiles and seeming more settled than the opening tour gig in Perth. The ever smiling Dario Bortolin on bass seemed to have really got into an almost funk oriented groove, adding more edge to the masterpieces. Mick Skelton’s ever dependable excursions are the drum kit powered the corps on

 

The vibrating throng sang along in full voice as the Baby Animals waved and weaved through the fist pumping set. The bands energy was sustained throughout the set with Suze twisting, moving and grooving back with the same style and energy as when I first sighted them at BillBoards, Russell St and The Espy (Melbourne) circa 1991.

 

The newer numbers from the 2013 release ‘This Is Not The End’ were equally well received with ‘Email’ being a stand out number. Finishing off with ‘Early Warning’ the audience response was thunderous that an encore was a given.

‘Ain’t Gonna Get’ with Sarah Mcleod guesting on guitar was a fitting finale. Suzi playfully pointing in Sarah’s direction on the line ‘don’t like your attitude’.

Considering the gap between the stage and crowd barrier the now famed Sarah Mcleod stage dive was unexpected. As she had to take a run and dive to clear the distance of stage to crowd via barrier injuries may have been sustained as she landed in amongst the resplendent swarming mass. As resilient as ever Sarah bounced back up on stage.

 

A stunning end to a superlative show from Valhalla Lights, The Superjesus and the Baby Animals.                                            

SHE WHO ROCKS - The Superjesus / Baby Animals

Redhook, Wrestpoint, Hobart, Fri 26 June 2015 

 

Opening band for the ‘She Who Rocks’ finale showdown in Hobart were aptly named. ‘Redhook’ by name ‘Redhook’ by nature. Fronted by red haired Emmy Mack the five piece rock outfit kicked into their set with precision and gusto.

A solid drum sound supported a deep and flowing bass line that were flanked electric lead and rhythm. The youthful energetic riffs and solos were lead from the front by the fiery and powerful vocals of Emmy. Strutting the stage with confidence she has got ‘rock star’ quality. Although for the sole Tasmania show the opening band were Sydney based the local Hobart content was filled by the Tasmanian devil of a bassist Matt Coleman who originated from Hobart.  

The challenge of opening the ‘She Who Rocks’ was meet head on by ‘Redhook’ who received a warm response from the filling 600 capacity audience.

As the lights dimmed the slow building chords of the intro composition laid the foundations for the  dark shadows of Paul Berryman  (drums), Stuart Rudd (bass) and Tim Henwood (guitar) to emerge, plug in and take their positions. The lights went up as front person Sarah McLeod (vocals/guitar) bounced on stage. The opening chords of “Summers Over” cut through the night like a flashing rapier going straight to the heart. The transition into a full rock show was so smooth, seamless and graceful akin to a Boeing 777 on full power at take-off. The previous five weeks and nine gigs of the ‘She Who Rocks’ tour had made the Hobart venue fortunate recipients of a well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine that moved, coiled and struck like a deadly cobra. 

 

The Superjesus were on fire as the sprinted through their set of anthems, hits and new songs. It was about five songs in that the band took a breath and allowed the energetic Sarah McLeod (does she ever take a breath?) to interact with the crowd and lay out ‘conditions of attendance’ i.e. as this was the last date they had to be the loudest crowd yet, sharing the energy flow to the band so they good share it back. They responded and while may not have been the loudest they gave it their all.

The reciprocal wave of love was resplendent when Sarah conducted the mass choir of Wrestpoint Casino during “Second Sun” with the “Whoo, Whoa, Whoo Whoa Whoa!” sing-a-long.

 

However a rare moment when the headlining Baby Animals duo of Suze DeMarchi (vocals/guitar) and Mick Skelton (drums) surprised Sarah by coming out on stage to join in. Sarah shared how much each other bands & members love each other and the tour, with Suze staying to join in on vocals and Mick taking up supportive stance behind Paul. Such was the Love Fest vibes that the actual song played was lost in my brain wave energy flow.

As you would expect The Superjesus responded kicking out the Rock ’n’ Roll gospel according to Sarah McLeod and her disciples. If Jesus had only been a woman. Hallelujah !!

 

It was noted that for the final show Sarah’s T-shirt was not carrying a statement but was on of pure black. In morning for the last show or letting the music do the talking? A question open for discussion deep into the night.

 

As ‘Gravity’ played out Sarah introduced her cohorts and the sad news (for us) that Paul was going back home to Seattle thus who knows when The Superjesus will spread their word again. However as other members are already active in their own ventures we will not be left without their spirit.

Following the interval change over the lights dimmed then the familiar intro of ‘Rush You’ were spat out in. Likewise the smoothness of the Baby Animals music machine was apparent from the get go. Suze was in full command centre stage as her energy radiated out.

 

For once the song order remained etched in the memory cells despite the ear drum and brain cell pounding received courtesy of Dave Leslie and his JCM2000 TSL rig.

 

Dario Bortolin was magnificent with his supportive bass runs and backing vocals. Mick Skelton was totally on it, belted, blasted and rolled with precision and power.

The guitar maestro Dave Leslie was on peak performance. Riffing and soloing with meticulousness of a virtuoso of experienced in years and talent.

 

Suze Demarchi is the ultimate rock front woman. Assertiveness and Defiance, Brashness and Boldness, Posture and Bearing. In “One Word” Attitude!! Moving with coolness and grace Suze’s voice is as strong and radiant as ever. In full command she led the Baby Animals through a killer set. If God was a woman?

 

So for those that missed it or want it, here it is. Following aforementioned opener and bursting on stage with “Rush You” the Baby Animals then got “Under My Skin”, I then got the fever and “Got It Bad”. But “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” cos I have some “Back Bone”. Of course Suze would” Break My Heart” but the “Bonfires” still burn.  Only a “Hot Air Ballon” could take you away and a “Stitch” would be “Painless”. Perhaps if only they sent me an “Email” then I would have got an” Early Warning”? It was all over too soon!

With one more song to go Suze introduced it as “time for Sarah” and Sarah McLeod dashed on stage for the final blasting of “Ain’t Gonna Get” which tore the house down. With a huge photographer’s pit (deliberate move by venue management?) Sarah was unable to dive into the crowd has had been her passion for previous dates. However in no way did this diminish from the show.

 

This was one hell of a show, one hell of a tour and Yes “SHE WHO ROCKS” rocked out big time!

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