Review Jodi Marino
There are so many sub-genres of rock’n’roll these days because everybody has their own sound, and their own take on what rock’n’roll means to them. There is blues rock, pop rock, southern rock, stoner rock…the list goes on and on.
Rock’n’roll is not perfect. It is like the diamond in rough, the imperfections are what make it. That rough sound, unpredictability and the more than occasional moments of craziness and hilarity.
Tonight’s show, with the four very different bands, embodied many of those aspects. Even though each of them had a varying sound and style, they came together on one bill and managed to wow much of the audience, no matter which band they were there to see.
To kick things off was Melbourne’s own three piece, all female, Tequila Mockingbyrd.
Whilst the room was not yet full, with many punters still strolling in like a slow drip feed, the girls jumped in head first, and held nothing back. With a slight change to their usual line-up, Estelle on guitar and vox, Josie on skins, and Jacinta filling in for Jess on bass, the girls ripped through a solid set of songs from their debut album Fight and Flight. By the end of the set, there were many feet tapping and some very approving nods around the room, with some people seeming very pleasantly surprised at how good they really are. Myself having seen them many times, of course, am not a stranger to exactly how fantastic they sound. With strong vocals, ripping riffs, and an absolute pocket rocket on drums, they are a true powerhouse of the rock scene. Having only returned from a tour of the UK/Europe at the end of last year, the girls will be heading back that way in the near future in support of the international release of the album. Be sure to catch them before they go.
Next on the bill were Grindhouse, whom I had not seen before, so had no level of expectation. If first impressions count for anything, however, I knew their set was going to be a fun one.
Stepping out onto the stage, shirtless and each with some sort of comical prop, like motorcycle helmets, a giant SLR badge on a chain or simply just a real eighties style headband, had many of the crowd in stitches before they had even played a note.
Once the music started, you could tell that they were, in fact, all quite good musicians, with the guitar being played at an absolutely frantic pace. The vocals having a very “Aussie” sound and lyrics that were just so funny at times I found myself completely laughing out loud. Writing songs about the likes of their favourite car – the SLR 5000, Aussie character Peter Russell Clarke and even a song called Dapto Dancer about a guy who racked up a huge $30K bill on phone sex. With loads of funny antics between songs, it made for a really entertaining set.
Once the hilarity had settled on came Cosmic Kahuna. Given I had also not seen them before, and the happening of the previous set, I was really unsure of what was coming next.
Being hailed as surf-punk-thrash, this was a combination which sounded interesting, but that is an adjective at the total lower end of the scale to apply to these lads. The three-piece have an absolutely crunching sound, with screaming guitar riffs and a beastly beat in the drums. Ripping through tracks from their album WASTEOID, both myself and the crowd were really blown away. I look forward to being able to see these guys again in the near future, they are definitely on the rise.
As the now fully packed room was buzzing, some with excitement, some from alcohol and many from let’s just say, other stimulants, the level of anticipation was growing.
Coming from Atlanta, Georgia, Nashville Pussy, have a reputation as a hard rock, psychobilly or southern rock act who live hard and fast and play even more so. With husband and wife, Blaine Cartwright and Ruyter Suys teaming up to form the foundations of the band, after some line-up changes since they started in 1996, their current line-up includes Jeremy Thompson on drums and Bonnie Buitrago on bass.
With eight studio albums and four live albums under their belt, they have garnered a rather sizeable following, including here in Melbourne. And whilst their lyrical content is predominantly about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll with a bit of fighting and a lot of drinking, their ability to make good solid rock songs stands tall.
Ruyter Suys is simply an absolutely masterful guitarist. She is like a tiny offspring if you crossed Zakk Wylde, Dee Snyder, and Stevie Nicks. She gets completely in the moment, and like she transports herself to another place. Her skill set would surely be the envy of many an aspiring guitarist, and to do it whilst being fed swigs of the good ‘ol Jack Daniels by her other half, is a testament to her abilities.
Blaine himself is somewhat of a miracle man. Sounding not completely unlike the good Lord Lemmy, with his gruff tones, his often brash, shameless rants and slurred words, coupled with a major sway in his step, indicate a level of intoxication that is not translated into his playing. Still managing to play like he has for all of these years is amazing, to say the least.
The tunes they play are really quite catchy, and you find yourself rocking away with most every song they play, whether you know it or not.
The boisterous, rowdy crowd acting like a feed line to the band, spurs them on more and more. Blaine talks about how much he loves Australia, and his disdain for his own country, which in turn fires the crowd up too.
As the photographers line the front of the stage, in anticipation of capturing one of those moments that are so often talked about, where Ruyter will spray a mouthful of Jack Daniels over the crowd, seemed less and less likely as the set went on. But her intensity was definitely high as the set came to a close, with her simply tearing at the strings on her guitar, ripping them straight out, them slipping to a slump on the stage floor. Her eccentricity on show as she then proceeds to carefully remove them, wind them up and pass them to her ever endearing fans. While Nashville Pussy may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of whiskey as the case may be), if you are an open minded rock fan, you will enjoy their ability to pull together songs that speak to people about the things they love most in life. We need the likes of bands like this to remind us that life is not all about being serious, and that having fun and living life to the fullest is just as important.