Review Cassandra Hale
Melbourne had dealt us a freezing night but it did nothing to dissuade the middle aged rockers lining up for their night out on the town. It was a long line and I was glad I was near the front and swiftly in the doors after opening.
Melbourne’s own, Palace Of The King got the nights proceedings underway, I am lucky enough to have seen these guys before and can say they have only gone from strength to strength since then. Now a four piece outfit they are absolute professionals of their trade, keeping the revelers entertained with a 45 minute set that certainly got us warmed up. Opening with Let The Blood Run Free, there progression through their set was quick, No Chance in Hell, Another Thing Coming and Beyond The Valley were all well received by the swelling crowd. Take Your Medicine and Free finished it out to huge cheers and applause.
Drummer Travis Dragani’s chops were faultless, and for a small kit he put out some big sound, technically perfect at every turn. Not even missing a beat when he broke a drumstick or two, the close vicinity of his stick bag definitely a bonus. Sean Johnston on keys and guitar gave us a great show and proved how well you can combine the two instruments and not sacrifice any fluidity to the show, his keyboard solo amazing as he totally lost himself to the music. Bass player Anthony Licciardi Garcia treated us to a sensational solo that brought him to his knees and showed that bass players can rock a solo with the best of them. Front man Tim Henwood was outstanding, the glue that holds all these terrific musicians together. Not just a great singer, a fantastic guitar player, even giving us some fast flurries from behind his head while making it look effortless.
If you have not seen Palace Of The King before, go and do it now, support our local musicians, you will be so glad you did.
With the heat turned up a notch or two The Screaming Jets took to the stage. By now most were quite well inebriated and ready to rock, and what better band to rock with than The Screaming Jets. Dave Gleeson commands your attention from the get go, he is funny, he is rude, he is energetic, he is the penultimate front man! The set list was every fans dream pick, hit after hit roll out, Shine on, Eve Of Destruction, Helping Hand, Sad Song, the list goes on. Having a blast and loving making music is so evident watching them play, but definitely does not effect the quality of their show. It is great to see them enjoying their music so much and still out on the road after almost thirty years in the business. Dave’s antics were hilarious and kept you entertained for the whole show, never wanting to look away in case you missed something. He did touch briefly on the crisis of our Australian’s sleeping rough every night, and how we are wasting time on such trivial things in the media and doing nothing to support them, and I cant say I disagree with him. Then it was back to business and pumping out the hits, C’Mon, Shivers and of course Better, the crowd were jumping, yelling, trying to sing, it was pub rock at its hot sweaty best!
Paul Woseen gave me a giggle with his ‘Fuck off Dave’ sticker stuck on his bass, he treated us to a funky solo and it was great to see the bass player get some recognition from the crowd. Guitarists Scott and Jimi were technically perfect, enjoying every minute. Drummer Mark Draco McLeod was slaying the hell out of his kit, precision drumming at its finest.
After seeing two awesome Australian bands it was hard to believe there was still one to come, queue the Baby Animals. The one pot screamers had made their way down the front trying for a front row spot, but were quickly reminded that that doesn’t wash with the people who had to line up for the privilege, me included! The perfect opener One Word blasted out and sexy Suze and the boys were off, Ain’t Gonna Get, Painless and a lovely tribute to Suze’s late father with Backbone just to name a few.
One Too Many, was some advice that many of the fans should have taken on board, if they had one big night out a year this was definitely it! Got It Bad, Email and of course the anthems of Australian rock, Rush You and Early Warning were belted out, fans lapping them up, their voices loud in approval. There were many screams of ‘I love you Suze’ throughout the set and some even finding courage via the bottom of their beer glass to push through the fans for a sneaky hand touch with the sultry songstress.
The girl crush of many, Suze DeMarchi never fails to deliver, happy to down Coronas while performing, she is a red hot rock chick that has not just stood the test of time but has worked bloody hard to keep the Baby Animals at the top of the rock scene selling out show after show. The band are kick arse, time on the road has wearied them none, still bringing their A game to every show.
There was just enough time for two more songs, bringing what was a fabulous night of Aussie rock to an end. Dodging puddles of god knows what on the floor, I took a quick detour to the merch stand, as you do, and picked up a lovely signed Baby Animals record, which now takes pride of place next to my turntable. How awesome to see people enjoying vinyl again, there is no doubt about it vinyl just sounds better.
While there will be plenty of hangovers tomorrow, I am sure should the opportunity arise to do it all again, they would be lining up again in a heartbeat.
THE SCREAMING JETS
PALACE OF THE KING
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED MATT ALLAN PHOTOGRAPHY
PALACE OF THE KING – VALLES MARINERIS
Release Date: 29 July 2016
℗ 2016 Devil’s Music Records
Palace of The King released their latest album on the 29th July, 2016 and a smidgen later elsewhere and I have to throw my hands straight in the air from the outset. This album is thoroughly astonishing from start to finish. It really is that simple. For those familiar with previous releases, you will understand what a confusing observation that really is from your truly. After all, a recording from a band that is made up of such a wealth of individual experience, professionalism and knowledge, complete with brilliant prior recordings, you would expect the superb. You would be forgiven for inquiring with a hearty…’yeah, what’s new?’ Well, I’ll simply offer my own observations in retort.
Right from the soulful introduction at the masterful hands of Sean Johnson, guiding us willingly into Let The Blood Run Free, you can immediately spot the difference with this release. To be more specific, the days of ‘they sound like’ are gone. I have enjoyed attributing prior comparisons to the POTK sound and the masters of days gone by, based solely on the skill of the former. The love child of this one and that. My own observations between elements of Led Zepplin and perhaps a little of the might Uriah Heep creeping through. But those references hereby vanish into the annals of history. This album is Palace Of the King and no other. So music lovers of the world, prepare yourselves for a fantastical journey to the abyss of a Martian trench, or something just as dissimilar to the norm. The soul-infused groove is beyond comparison to any other and represents a significant refinement. An archetype of sound homogenisation crafted into a new, unique sound that is Palace Of The King. The opener also celebrates the individual protagonist’s contributions in sensational style. The solos, the vocals, the bass solo to complement the rhythmic majesty. It’s all too much. I’ll take a break to return my respiratory rate before moving on to attempt to reference track two. This album is quite simply, that exciting and brilliantly crafted.
Beyond The Valley alters the pace for us marginally, but the groove, my god the groove, just when you swaying in harmonic accompaniment, Tim interrupts with a powerful delivery of the lyrics, thereby adding the hard rock element that with their splendid refinement, have created a sound POTK just own outright. For those fortunate enough to have witnessed POTK live, you can’t help but visualise Tim Henwood’ sensational stage tambourine toting swagger with the sound jingles in your aural canals. In fact, as you travel through Black Cloud, The Bridge of the Gods and We Are The Vampires, it becomes apparent that POTK have managed to harness the magnificence of their live performances and transfer the excitement to your lounge room. Those who have witnessed the glorious spectacle that is a Palace of The King performance will know just exactly the sensations. That live grandeur is now enhanced greatly with the line-up addition of magnificent Travis Dragani at the kit.
Empire Of The Sun has more swagger than a Hollywood pimp as its struts and grooves its way through your aural canals and brings a smile to the dial.
Sick As A Dog reminds the listener of this band’s determination to refine their sound and explore new possibilities with each release. Probably a timely point to reveal that this track has been around quite a while, which makes the concept of their current plans all the more exciting. Those who know this group of consummate professionals, dedicated to their brand and products, are never sitting still. Always creating and refining. River Of Fire is further evidence of their commitment to perfection.
Throw Me To The Wolves and Into The Black complete the collection in a marvellously cohesive fashion bringing about a splendidly pleasing sensation and sense of satisfaction brought on by the realisation that this is rock and roll. The essential time-tested elements brought together as if in homage to earlier protagonists, but incomparable to anyone other than Palace Of the King. This is a benchmark release for the band that will launch them into further refinement and celebration of their crisp rock n roll sound. In point of fact that’s already been the agenda for some time. Watch out for what’s next from POTK. This album belongs in the collection of every proud Australian and raw rock fan.
This is one of those elusive and rare albums so sensational in musical quality, progressive development, construction and brilliant sequencing, that you are immediately and uncontrollably excited for another release. Now…Please. But in the meantime, the result of a creation of this magnitude will surely be admirers filling the halls of live performances. The opportunity to witness the unique qualities of this astoundingly talented outfit while they remain, for the moment, within our grasp. This is the result of truly brilliant individual musicians collectively creating from their heart and soul.
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY MICKG PHOTOGRAPHY
Back with our splendid hosts at 170 Russell tonight and the air throughout the day has been one of calm. A few familiar faces line up in the early hours, determined to obtain their stage front locale. And their wait was quite a lonely one as compared to some more recent gigs. Later, pre-gig the lines, if you could call them so, were quite subdued and quiet. Perhaps the break between meet & greet calmed the masses. But that was all about to change. Most likely show goers were getting in extra rest for the appearance of Buckcherry live in Melbourne. After all, there was no shortage of love on the social pages.
We get ready as Electrik Dynamite calmly arrive stage front and take up positions. The presence of a Keytar prompt timely reflection that we may have been mistaken with the correct night and line up. But then Electrik Dynamite bust into action. Those familiar with this sensational band will be quite familiar with the regrettable departure of Dan Brittain from the front position, but life is full of unplanned interruption. Fortunately Luke Toomey has taken on the role and in brilliant form. Electrik Dynamite are aptly named, with their tremendous musical creations, but more appropriately due to their stage presence and showmanship. They blast out their brilliance with an accompaniment of individual performer flare that truly brings their music to life. Collectively their live music become contagious and whether you are an Electrik Dynamite virgin, or proud follower of their work over many years, you are dragged helplessly into their tremendous performance. Tracks like Hot Blood Cold Steel are certainly favourites, but more importantly, are demonstrative of the professional show they deliver each, and every time. Of course despite each performer’s larger than life delivery, it’s difficult to look away from our keytar wielding siren of rock, Sarah Lim. Her vocals are equally as brilliant as are her unique moshing manoeuvres. Keytar positioned on the right leg, placed for optimum mosh effect as she blasts us into the musical majesty that is Electrik Dynamite. Their guitar symmetry and instrumental symbiosis are truly inspiring, as is the vocal delivery from Luke. Fantastic stuff..
As proceedings progress, the unmistakable and welcome Tim Henwood comes into view, and all present know that the temperature will be turned up as Palace Of The King blast out their sensational signature sound. Putting all aside for just a moment, I must make mention of the incredible feeling of excitement that takes hold of you, every time that the percussive powerhouse that is Travis Dragani, takes to the kit. Whether you enjoy the soulful injection of drum groove he injects into the music of Mere Machine, or watching him rock with Bruce Kulick, the vast experience of this brilliant performer always instils a feeling of imminent enjoyment. And tonight is no exception as Palace Of The King blast into Take Your Medicine, the extraordinary opening track from their most recent release, White Bird/Burn The Sky. And if this was your first exposure to the tremendous Travis with Palace Of The King , and were expecting his look to be accompanied by the ‘Animal’ style drumming, you would not have been disappointed because this is exactly where Sean Johnston takes on that particular role. It’s quite difficult for photographers to catch a mid-performance pose from Sean as his Mozart-turned-maniacal alter ego is released. He is an incredible performer and musician but his keyboard stool rarely catches contact with his arse, and seems of little use. A prime example of bringing music to life. Palace Of The King are collectively a formidable gathering of utterly sensational musicians, with a vast amount of individual musical experience that has developed into something utterly astounding. Andrew Gilpin may very well be developing the look of Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, but his skilful bass style and delivery are fast becoming equally famous, as the assembled crowd chant his name. Sorry Andrew, but “if the shit fits, wear it”. And those familiar with Tim Henwood, would be acutely aware that it’s going to take some sensational guitarists for him to hand over that particular duty, to concentrate of vocals. And that’s exactly what he has in his axe wielding brethren.
We cannot experience the Led Zeppelin heyday live any longer, but for me, Palace Of The King carry exactly the same excitement. Their creativity, sound excellence, tremendous diversity and the individual skill assembled during a live performance, are the stuff of legend. Are really, it is my sincere hope that they are just getting started to deliver a long legacy of sheer musical excellence.
And so, with no further ado, it’s on to the art of Buckcherry, all accompanied by the roar of the crowd and the push stage ward to get closer to these dazzling rockers of worldwide acclaim. Josh Todd, larger than life and right here before us, brings those stage front to a frenzied fervor as he launches into Lit Up. And what a commencement to put to a thoroughly killer show. Probably the first Buckcherry track that many present had heard, being the opener for their debut album. And really, why break with tradition now?
Broken Glass, and Bring It On Back launch the celebrations to new heights as the crowd try to deliver much thanks to the lads for coming out to see us yet again. Josh’s stage presence is so very unique, that is really is beyond compare. Whether your are mesmerized by his mannerisms, his famous collection of ink art, his vocal prowess or his transfixing gaze right into your eyes, it’s difficult to look away. That is until a guitar pick delivered from Keith Nelson slaps you sideways, and your attention is reminded that there some more monumental performers present. We had a great time chatting pre-tour Keith, but how you managed to land a pick right down my shirt is beyond me. The grin back left me in no doubt that his sensational guitar delivery is equaled by his plectrum sharp shooting. Xavier at the kit was gleaning as much enjoyment from the show as yours truly, with a tremendous performance accompanied by an ear to ear grin on more than one occasion.
What a sensational treat to watch Buckcherry live yet again. It is a pertinent reminder to those rock inclined, what an essential component of ones gig going remembrances a Buckcherry show really is. As Josh removes the jacket and reveals the famous king of hearts back piece, the crowd roar with equal love and desire. Before long, and after an incredible collection of fan favourites, we arrive at the essential Tight Pants and the crowd is bouncing in celebratory unison. Gluttony, Wrath and Rain’s Falling simply enhance even further, the varied celebration of the expansive Buckcherry catalogue, just before Crazy Bitch send the crowd off yet again. There’s screaming, there’s much woo hooing, there’s some buffoon trying to crowd surf a gig where the complete attention of all present is engrossed by the Buckcherry finery being delivered stage front. The cries for more are obligingly met with a brilliant encore of Say Fuck It and Too Drunk… And sadly, it’s all over way too soon, but in fairness, you can never get enough Buckcherry, and you could enjoy their performances for hours on end. A monumentally killer show as the opening gig of the Australian tour, full of magical riffage from Keith and Stevie D, a bass masterclass from Kelly LeMieux and an all-round performance that will continue on in my fondest of gig memories. The individual members of Buckcherry are larger than life, but collectively, and playing like it’s just for you, is simply sensational.