Capitol Bar, Perth
April 29th, 2016
Supported by Gombo, Ragdoll and Bad Shannon
After a three year absence playing live, Bad Shannon showed they had lost none of their high energy, infectious style of alt-rock. The Perth four piece welcomed early arrivals with a killer set which was loud, brash and heavy, demonstrating that there was nothing to slow these boys down. A glance to the back of the stage revealed Vas Shevtsov sitting behind the drum kit – a great way to warm up for his headlining duties with Hailmary. If their live set is anything to go by the upcoming EP will be worth getting your hands on.
Ragdoll’s barefooted bass player/lead singer Ryan Rafferty is basically hair and a Fender, but the boy can play and sing. His vocals were on song right from the start and watching his fingers dance up and down the fretboard drew admiring comments from punters nearby. This was the first time I’ve heard ‘Playing God’ played live (off the upcoming debut LP Back To Zero – reviewed here), and it sounded pretty amazing. The room quickly filled once the trio started their set of straight down the line hard rock. Guitarist Leon Todd worked the stage like a pro, his energy almost too much for the small Capitol space to contain, bouncing around like a madman and striking the odd guitar hero rock star pose. The boys were having fun and it rubbed off onto the punters. Ragdoll’s almost constant gigging shows through in their stagecraft, and there is not a tighter band playing in Perth today. It’d be remiss not to mention Cam Barrett, a pure rhythm machine, his almost faultless percussion holding the band together. It was great to hear their current single ‘The World You Gave Us’, with that track deservedly receiving one of the biggest cheers of the set.
This was my first time seeing Gombo play, as they’d somehow slipped under my local gig radar and were quite the departure from the hard rockers that came before them. An alt-rock three piece doing things their own way, with what can only be described as strains of Frank Zapper mixed with a touch of R.E.M. turned up to eleven. The opening song seemed to ramble along, taking a different direction at every timing change and with plenty of off kilter time signatures. In fact it wasn’t just the opening song – that paved the way for the whole set. With Gombo you just didn’t know what was coming next, a little limiting but very cool at the same time. There’s plenty of heavy as fuck guitars courtesy of Dillo, combined with Southo’s pounding percussion and joined by Cilli on the five string bass (who swapped effortlessly between playing with a pick and fingers).
After such strong support, Hailmary needed to bring their A game. Decked out in black tshirts and Les Pauls they came to rock, and rock they did. The maniac behind the drum kit, Vas Shevtsov, was decked out in… well not much really aside from a pair of shorts. On a chilly Perth night there was only one way for a drummer to keep warm. Having already stretched with Bad Shannon, arms, legs and hair flew everywhere and I have no doubt he was up to temperature by the middle of the second song. Front man Kevin Curran beckoned the growing crowd forward and they responded accordingly, with the venue almost full from the front of the stage to the back bar. Hailmary play hard rock, technical and well-crafted songs – a tight as fuck four piece who have their shit together. They kept the banter between songs to a minimum, leaving their music to do the talking. A set highlight was ‘Longest Line’, one of their slower songs that starts off acoustic and contains a killer chorus hook. Hailmary gig from Perth to Melbourne and all over the UK, and with that sort of work ethic we’ll see much more of this band in the future.
It was billed as a triple threat headline and it was. The prefect way to kick off a weekend of live music in Perth.
Check out the full photo gallery below – click on the images to make larger.
Photos courtesy of Jerika Faithfull. Please do not use without permission.