The Rosemount Hotel, Perth
Friday 28th, August 2020
Supports: Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, Skullcave
Perth music fans have begun coming out of their (home-bound) cages. It’s clear from this sold out (albeit half capacity) Bolt Gun show at The Rosemount Hotel, that we are in fact, doing just fine. The Perth based post-rock-avant-garde-blackened-ambient-sludge-doom act, performing to celebrate the release of their most recent album ‘Begotten’, coming to you through the ‘Art As Catharsis’ label. A raw & cinematic-esque titan of darkened ambience and blissful spires of noise. Joining Bolt Gun were Skullcave, & Tangled Thoughts of Leaving. Two Perth based & equally unique, post-rock power groups, each with their own twist on what the broad genre can purvey.
I was early as always, as any good band photographer should be. Time to prep and take in the location. The typical story with local gigs is an unfortunate and stark lack of support for opening bands. This show bucked the trend. As it came closer to Skullcave’s entrance I noticed the large hall at The Rosemount Hotel was truly a sold out experience. A close-to-covid-capacity group of diehard local fans entered the room. I knew passed this point that I chose the correct first gig to cover since shows started back up. I would describe Skullcave’s sound as a textural swirling sludge and noise driven adventure externally, hiding a bitter and melancholic hardcore punk core. Much like a delicious multi-layered chocolate with 99% dark chocolate at the center. Ingesting this in a live setting, the audience were given a raw, doom-y, emotional ride into the depths of Skullcave’s immense performances. Taking advantage of the three members for vocal support, spread out between large instrumental sections. The impressive tempo and time signature changes were definitely a very musical feature I personally enjoyed a lot. Another, the classic 5150 guitar amp nasty clean tones, held with the I-don’t-care-if-these-cleans-aren’t-clean attitude. Clean guitars, I might add, which are often held with gracious hypnotism as the fire-powered rhythm section entwines around it.
As soon as Skullcave finished, a flurry of movement came to the stage. Tangled Thoughts of Leaving (TToL) & The Rosemount sound person had the momentous task of staging and patching racks and racks of synth gear, keyboards, pedal boards, and auxiliary percussion. Something that came together in an impressively short amount of time, a big bravo to the whole team. TToL’s performance truly embodied the ethos of post-rock. Their mix of chaotic textures, unique synth timbres, minutes long crescendos and swells, dynamism, improvisation, eclecticism, in particular jazz influences (I could go on for a while). However, the band didn’t just do those things. They did them with exceptionally musical execution and precision. It is clear the members are seasoned musicians all in their own right. The combination of this results in an immersive, emotive, example of what music can truly be. I could speak for hours on each of the talents of the band. Neither you, nor me, however, have said hours. My biggest stand out for the show was the pure genius of the rhythm section of TToL. Giving a rock solid foundation and being the main influencers to the group’s song dynamics.
The moment finally arrived for Bolt Gun to take the stage. This time, without the rush of setting up that the previous act had. Instead, that time was replaced with placement of an ominous looking gong in a frame, a single table with what looked like some kind of mixing desk or synth was placed, and a large metal bucket coupled with a two-by-four. These unique instruments, played by the band’s frontman, would become textural centerpieces, around the more traditional rock instrumentation accompanying them. As the show started, the lighting took a shift to a far darker mood (much to my dismay, as a photographer). Using only red lights and filling in blanks with a projector creating granular backgrounds over the stage. The visuals worked incredibly well in context with the music in the moment. I would describe the performance as the sonic equivalent of being shipwrecked, then forced to relive the moments of your own drowning over and over again for eternity, in the best possible way. A vast cavity of uneasy drones, hellish shrieking vocals, distortion-driven guitar work, endlessly repeating basslines, and deceptively simple, yet intelligently placed drum passages. The drawn out instrumental passages giving the audience a moment of retrospection in the chaos. Also a saxophone (hell yeah)?! Overall, a remarkable performance. Something I am so glad to see expanding my own little town of Perth.
Given the chance, I would recommend the opportunity to any music lover to see these bands. In times such as these, bands expanding on our deepest fears and emotions are more necessary than ever. A big thank you to the bands and, as always, the staff at The Rosemount Hotel. Lighting and Sound too, who did an incredible job bringing these bands the best of their sound.
Tangled Thoughts of Leaving