How do you help people break away from that unseemly endless bad news feed that has drenched 2020? You put on one hell of a rock show and bring together some of the biggest bands along with their devoted fans. I don’t think that even Electric State expected their video launch for ‘We’re Just Blood’ to be as big as it was but it immediately shown why these four guys are a force to reckon with in the music scene.
Having been lucky enough to share a bill with them for the ‘Were Just Blood’ single launch back in January, I was pretty excited to see what ‘Were Just Blood’ Part 2 would have in store. In a mirrored effect of part 1 we were brought back to Amplifier Bar in the center of Perth and a bill that was stacked with talent and rugged rhythm sections, as we stood emptying our vessels waiting for the first band, I can just hear ‘I don’t think I’ve drunk enough’ from Mr Viney.
Up first we had ‘Ivy Dream’, a four piece indie-rock band who surprisingly stood out for me on the night, its always hard being the first act up but they captivated the crowd with a tight set, phenomenal harmonies and catchy songs. The harmonies between Sam Lloyd (vocals) and Tim Reid (Guitar) on their acoustic song ‘Ocean’ was a clear stand out for me and Sam’s vocal range and control is second to none. Ivy Dream shown their ability to hit the heavier side of Indie Rock with ‘Save Our Souls’ showcasing the tight rhythm section of Kelly Thomson (bass) and Andrew Barnett (drums). ‘Goodnight’ ended the set with a somber note as we were informed that this may be Ivy Dream’s last show with Sam due to work and family commitments over east, I for one hope they are able to remain together as this band has a lot of magic and future in it and I would like to catch them again.
(Set List: Walls, Ocean, Relapse, Turbulence, Save Our Souls (or S.O.S.), Goodnight)
Band of Missfits were up next, their latest EP is highly anticipated after their WAM nominated material from their last release. After recording with Sean Lillico at Fur Real Studio and smashing back on to a Perth post - Covid scene they were seasoned and ready and it shown as they fired out their version of indie-folk-rock flawlessly. Kym Redmond pushed her vocals further than we’ve seen before as old hits like ‘Higher Passage’ and ‘Oceans’ sat amongst the coveted new songs ‘Starvation’ and ‘Crickets’ in a short but solid set. ‘Crickets’ is their next single to be released and played live this was a showstopper, it’s a high energy, its catchy and pulls in all the talents of each member, with impressive riffs from Jake Bignell on guitar and a well oiled rhythm section from Lee Matheson (Bass) and Paul Smith (Drums).
They closed their set with a modified version of ‘Empty Valley’, for me personally by slowing it down it lost its heavy charm and its ability to close the set. I prefer the heavier fast paced original which gives Kym’s vocals more grit, but that is only my opinion. ‘Crickets’ stole this set for me so I was still reeling from that moment of perfection, I’m really eager to hear that new EP with tracks like this on it.
(Set List: Higher Passage, Shot Down, Starvation, Crickets, Oceans, Empty Valley)
There’s a reason Amberdown have opened for Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe and why they have played stages such as the legendary Whisky-A-Go-Go, they simply are that caliber. They are currently in the process of recording their follow up album to ‘Four Years’ with Jay Huxtable at Oracle Studios and even though their time slot was shortened they still treated us to four of the new songs. Seriously, if this is what is on a third of the album, I cannot wait to hear the whole product.
Opening with a hard hitting new song, ‘Shattered & Bagged’ was welcomed by the many Amberdown fans as much as any of their older music was, now whether it’s a very low note or Jerry Young (bass/backing vocals) has a talent for Tibetan Throat Singing, it was an impressive feat. ‘Casey II’ was a welcome last minute addition much to the cries of fans.
New songs ‘Spare Me The Lies’ and ‘Belmont Ave’ became instantly memorable, with Dan, Dan The Bicep Man (vocals/guitar) and Jason ‘Glatz’ Glatzer (guitar) shining through the guitar solo of Belmont and its heavy breakdown finale. ‘Disaster’ has that synth that I love about Korn, I am hoping to hear a little more like this in the new album. A sneaky cover of ‘Lump’ from The presidents of The USA had the crowd bouncing but I honestly believe this is one band who don’t need to add in covers, their music is solid without one. ‘Do It Again’ was another new addition which was hard rock festival heavy with that massive double kick drum beat that Marc Lennon (drums) brings home so well.
To close the set ‘Dan, Dan The Bicep Man’ (sorry bro that’s sticking) asked if he crowd wanted another new song or ‘Hole In The Flaw’, oh Dan you need not ask, we know what we want. This is one of the best Hard Rock songs that has come out of Perth, it’s a firm favourite on the set list and Amberdown like their whole show they did not disappoint, that tone on Jerrys bass solo is sublime. This is hands down the best I’ve seen Amberdown!
(Set List: Shattered & Bagged, Casey II, Spare Me The Lies, Belmont Ave, Disaster, Lump, Say You Will, Do It Again, Hole In The Flaw)
When Rob Viney, screams ‘Lets F*ck This Puppy’ you know its going to be a phenomenal set, they were already hyped for their video launch and they let no moment become stale in what is the shortest and most powerful set I’ve seen them play. Firing in with ‘Get In You’, Electric State quickly stamped their mark on this show, this was instantly followed up with ‘Government’ as Janice, the fifth member of Electric State screamed into the mic with her siren, with Russell Christie (guitar) letting loose on his solo through to take us to ‘Lesson’. This for me was a stand out song, every member of the band excelled, Rob’s vocals were on point and Bill Shaw’s drumming was a highlight of the rendition.
Inbetween a moment of #Fuck Yeah Darryl’s from the crowd and some gratitude from Rob for the bands who had already performed, Paul Leahy (bass) opened with the killer riff of ‘Light It Up’ this was the last moment Rob stood on that stage for the whole song as he took on an acrobat role within the band to bar hop and interact with the crowd. What is so impressive about this band is whilst you have Rob bouncing and singing on the bar at the back of the room, half of the crowd were still facing the stage watching Bill, Paul and Russell, its great to see a band who has a fanbase base that isn’t just focused on the vocalist.
As it came time for the celebration of the whole night ‘Were Just Blood’, Rob introduced part of the film crew who are behind the music video. He didn’t leave anyone out of the announcements and this is admiral, we can not do what we do as musicians without the support and talents of many people surrounding us and as this is my review I’m going to shout out those who made the single of night the excellent song that it is. ‘Were Just Blood’ was Recorded by Andy Hill Elemental Sound & Jeff Studios, it was Mixed by Troy Nababan and Mastered by Paul Logos. The Directors of the film which Rob got up on stage with their own ‘Janice Jnr’ megaphones to sing in the chorus are Kayleigh Lux, Nathan Davey, Producers Matt Green and Nathan Davey. The main cast in the music video are Tanya Elsa and Adam McDowell.
‘Were Just Blood’ went off as mental as can be expected with everyone joining in and to everyone’s surprise Nathan the Producer actually has a voice and held his own on stage. Electric State finished the night with the heavy, fast paced grunge rock hit that is ‘Breed’. This was their night; they are one of the best Hard Rock bands in Perth and tonight cemented this to their fans and the music scene.
(Set List: Get In You, Government, Lesson, Light It Up, Algorithm, We’re Just Blood, Breed)
Spudgun, Spudgun, Spudgun where do I start? There’s only one band who can finish a night like this, you know its going to be loud, its going to be messy and there’s going to be funnels. These lads know how to put a show on, they get on stage to have fun and genuinely don’t care what people think about them, you don’t like their music, sweet, you hate their look, even better, they don’t even care I’m typing these words right now. The best part about that is it enables them to just do them and put on a show that you either love or hate and you know what, the crowd loved it.
The last time I saw This Is Spudgun play was at The Boston, it was our (Spudgun, Electric State and the band I was with) last show before Covid so I was really eager to see them again and this time they brought something new with them in the form of Melbourne shred guitarist James Caldwell.
They bounded onto the stage in a grand entrance to ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ I’m not sure who is which but as soon as they were all on the Western morphed into ‘Biting Her Lip’ which was recently recorded at Oracle Studios with Jay Huxtable. As Clint Hodges (Vocals/guitar) explained its been 146 days too long since the last show, Nathan Valverde (drums) smashed his way through their new song ‘Sexless’ it left me questioning how much china he goes through also if Bill Shaw worried about his kit being hit that hard, his drum solo during ‘Bitch Next Door’ was a solid reminder that he is one of the best hard hitting drummers here in Perth.
‘Brothers Grave’ was the song where we got to see the enigma that is James, having played with Hobbs Angel of Death his influences are clear when he hit the stage, his love for Metallica and the Bay Area sound oozed out of his hands as he shredded and tapped with precision, there is going to be a lot of envious bands in Peth that Spudgun have James.
The illusive Spudfunnel™ even had an upgrade as patrons attempted to down a funnel and maintain their dignity to the sounds of Star Wars Cantina Band, and lets face it some did well, others not so much as the ended up soaked in their own saliva mixed alcohol concoction, it was nice to see their manager finally found himself in the queue for liquid refreshment.
Ethan Broadbent took lead on vocals for ‘Covered In Ants’ after his display of b-ass thrusting from the prior song. As we broke for the final gratitude talk of the evening Clint thanked Electric State as a lady randomly cartwheeled and backflipped infront of the stage to the many shouts of ‘again’.
As we paid homage and thanks to our barstaff for the evening Spudgun fired into ‘Thank Fuck For The Bar’ with Clint racing around the venue and pryos going off, just as the solo was approaching, we had déjà vu of their last show where the power tripped and they were cut off. Clint’s guitar was abruptly smashed up on stage as the crowd shouted chants of ‘Spudgun’, Scott Crighton(Sound Engineer) came to the rescue and fixed the power so they could restart their finale. As Clint had already smashed his guitar, James improved the solo showing his ability as a musician and This Is Spudgun were able to finish the show whilst thanking the barstaff.
(Set List: Biting Her Lip, Sexless, Bitch Next Door, Brothers Grave, So Is She, Covered In Ants, Thank Fuck For The Bar)
This was an absolute screamer of a night, Electric State put on one hell of a show. Now I’ve left this to the end rather than bitch about it on each band set as its not the bands fault but the sets were too short, 30 minutes is no where near enough to showcase this calibre of bands. I fully expect to see 30 min sets at festivals, you go there knowing you’re getting tapas, I want to see a main course and dessert for these bands on a home show. We need to stop the five band shows, its too congested and doesn’t allow the bands to show off their repertoire. I would like to see three bands max both as a musician and as an audience member, knowing my $20+ is paying for a 60-75 min headline slot, Id be more than happy to pay and know Id be getting a bloody good show. Come on guys you all have the material for this, all is takes is one band to have the balls and put on the three band extended show.
I’m not ending on that note though, it was a killer show with killer bands, they all put on an amazing show of music and #fckyeahdarryl
Review conducted for The Rockpit, Australia, 7 August 2020