Tony Joe White, Astor, 15 March 2015
As the lights dimmed, a light mist of dry ice swirled from the edge of the stage as the tall dark gunslinger strolled on with menacing grace. With the air of a cowboy undertaker meaning business, purposefully he sat, centre stage, under the green tinged glow, drew from his pocket the shades and slipped them on.
Now he was ready to draw the axe up to strike!
This was not some horror move flick but welcome to a Tony Joe White show where his deadly craft of swamp rock took the sold out show way, way low. With bubbling boogie and wild cat guitar screams we were treated to an absolutely majestic show.
Musicianship abounded out loud and clear with only Tony and backing drummer on stage. On an old, battered Strat and a multitude of harmonica’s he swapped and changed to suit the song mood he slayed the audience. As I missed the name in my hastily scribbled notes of his cohort in crime I only hope I have it right when I say the man at the back on the stix attack was Kenny Malone.
This was the only WA show in an 18 date Australian tour that culminates in the East Coast Blues Festival at Bryon Bay. What a way To Go!! However in Perth we were not concerned by that fact but only that, by their fifth show into the tour, Tony was on fire and cooking, roosting us slow but sure. With classics such as “Undercover Agent of the Blues” and “Crack the Window Baby” the duo cooked up a storm.
Also taking us was, way back with the classic’s “Pork Salad Annie” and “Another Rainy Night in Georgia” this was a lesson in pure class. It’s easy to see why Tony, or I should say Sir Tony, is held is such reverence by the likes of J.J. Cale, Mark Knopfler Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynne, Tina Turner and (a posthumous) Waylon Jennings (RIP).
The sculptured Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley was a venue befitting such a master. The show was staged by the Mighty Fly-By-Night and they did an outstanding job. The lucky Fly-By-Night members who purchased tickets quick enough were shown to the allocated VIP tables down the front with grace and ease. Indeed this show alone paid for the membership thrice over.
Opening act The Majestic Kelp did a fine job of warming up the crowd.
After the two, or was it three song, encore Tony strode off the stage to whoops, claps and roars, knowing he had delighted the audience. And being the grand age of 71 years he showed that if it’s pure class the shine is forever!
The Majestic Kelp, Astor, 15 Mar 15.
Supporting the Legendary Tony Joe White is a heavy responsibility so it was only fitting The Majestic Kemp did the needful, kicking off their set a Heavy Blues beat. Picking up to a lighter groove with, what seemed to this ears, some surf rock.
Instrumentals were The Majestic Kemps signature for the best half of the set. Laying out some dreamy vibes this five piece unit lead by the Fremantle Guitar God Dom Mariani, formally of The Stems, were heads down doing the business that was well received by the growing Astor crowd.
At times they seemed float into space rock which was equally well received.
About mid-way it was game was on when Dom Mariani announced now “It’s time to play surf rock !!”. And so they stepped up a notch, one notable notch on the guitar neck was “Music to Chase Cars To” which also had Dom also stepping up to the mic.
Being off the new album ‘Turn Up The Sun’ it’s one new album I’ve slotted on the “To- Buy” list.
Dom was backed up well with the rest of his band. Of note the drummer ‘s style actually resembling Levon Helm (of The Band). Keys, bass and rhythm / lead guitar making up the musical troupe.
The acknowledgement from the crowd during the set, and as the left the stage, proved they were indeed not only Majestic, but Mighty. Long Live The Kelp !!