Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA
January 5th, 2019
Support: Yomi Ship
“Hey, let’s get lost in the crowd”……
Karnivool. It’s hard to believe that the band are twenty years down the road in their musical endeavours since formation. Whether fans like it or not, they have only produced three full length albums in that time, something the band members have alluded too in improving but nevertheless it is what is, after all the band are so technical at times in their delivery and lyrically seem to delve into that area where attention to detail is so very acute that a delay is inevitable. It’s what makes the ‘Vool experience what it is. It’s to be cherished every time they play. I mean, Ian Kenny could just sit back and sing for Birds of Tokyo and produce more ‘radio friendly’ music or we can respect the man’s patience and be happy for what Karnivool does achieve when these live moments or rare albums do occur. In fact, that love from the legion of ‘Vooligans’ in these parts is so much so, that there live shows get snapped up in record time in these parts, and in these parts, namely W.A, the band’s hometown, they are more than generous in their time. Their one show on this short run around Perth and Adelaide, in a pre-UNIFY Fest warm up quickly escalated from one show to two shows and finally a third Monday night show. Perth can’t get enough of the ‘Vool, and once again the band displayed their awesome technical prowess and aura on this night for fans to see.
This was more a family or homecoming event, the first show in Perth for Karnivool for well over 12 months and as always, their first show in Perth for a long time has always been a family and friends kind of event. Hence tickets were snapped up quickly, and hence the guys really wanted to make this night special, as they did a few years back. When Ian Kenny sings, ‘New Day’ in these smaller pub venues, the goosebumps stay for a week, not a minute. But enough of that later. First up were local trio, Yomi Ship. Describing themselves as “Experimental instrumental art rock filled with unorthodox structures and rhythms, anchoring bass and reverb drenched guitar”. It’s a mouthful but after having the pleasure of listening to these creative kids go about their business perhaps their outlandish bio is just the beginning. I can’t even describe what this band brings to the table. Technically they astound with deep riffage, but they meld into almost thrashy textures before peeling back the layers to unveil as their bio depicts as they wander in prog-rock wizardy, all the time relying on, at times, bizarre structuring. That’s not to say that bizarre isn’t wonderful. In fact I was quick, to have a listen to the band’s new EP, Under the Tree, in the Cave, on the trip home, which dropped on January 3rd. It was worth the early attendance.
After a 45 minute break between bands, the Rosemount Hotel and its intimate surroundings was heaving in anticipation, and when the ‘Vool finally did take the stage, the crowd as if in-sync lost their collective fucking minds! The bearded vocal maestro, Ian Kenny conducting his rock symphony as his beardo brothers, Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking slayed away feverishly on their respective side of stages. On drums, the immediately topless and tight kit of Steve Judd banged away in that impeccable manner whilst the more “head bangy”” band member, bassist, Jon Stockman went all apeshit as Jon Stockman always does. Besides Stockman going nuts, it was also great to see him representing local boys, Forstora on his tee, a local metal band and the singer, a Wall of Sound photog legend in these parts! So, ‘Goliath‘ kicked off proceedings, then onto ‘Shutterspeed‘, ‘Roquefort‘ and the more subtle but nonetheless enticing, ‘Simple Boy‘. It’s clear the band were dusting off a few cobwebs from a long lay off, but you couldn’t really fault the delivery and the crowd, singing in unison certainly helped Kenny get through a swag of songs in this set, in what we could only describe as a mini best of setlist.
Thanking the crowd, guitarist Drew Goddard again asked fans for patience regarding the new album, insisting fans to “stick with us, making this kind of music is fucking hard”. Personally, I don’t think the crowd cared too much. Yes, we all want new Karnivool songs but it is what it is, and hey we’ve waited a fucking eternity for a new Tool album, so waiting another 12 months for a new Karnivool album after 2013’s Asymmetry is not really a big deal.
Back to the show, ‘Çote‘ and ‘Themata‘ created a mini mosh fest inside the small venue, Kenny in particular lapping up the energy and I couldn’t help but think that every time I see the man front Karnivool I see nothing but joy on his face. Sure, Birds of Tokyo are a great band, but in my selfish little means nothing opinion, Karnivool is his baby and I truly believe he loves fronting the band for this more indulgent, heavier act. Maybe I’m wrong? Either way, the band as a whole looked comfortable and more importantly happy and UNIFY Gathering attendees will have themselves the times of their lives seeing this band on a bigger stage.
‘We Are‘ provided more technical prowess combined with the aesthetics of atmospheric music. Take from that what you will, but if you see Karnivool in action, you’ll know what I mean. Concluding with the anthem, ‘New Day‘, with the whole of the Rosemount Hotel singing in unison, Karnivool once and again proved that they are indeed kings of the west in heavy music. The subtle nuances of sound, the heavy as fuck when needs to be, the technical prowess, the occasional djent madness, the Kenny croon. It’s all there. What a wonderful band and West Australia is very lucky to have these guys as their own. UNIFY – do not miss a chord!
Review by Jim ‘Plugga’ Birkin
Revisit Karnivool frontman Ian Kenny co-hosting our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast right here
Karnivool – The Road to UNIFY 2019 Tour
Monday January 7th, 2019 – SOLD OUT
Thursday January 10, 2019 – SOLD OUT
The Gov, Adelaide
Friday January 11th, 2019 – LESS THAN 100 TICKETS
UNIFY Gathering, Tarwin Lower