Xpress 20th Birthday Party
Eskimo Joe/ End of Fashion/ Karnivool/ Downsyde/ The Avenues
Perth Concert Hall
Friday August 19th
Review By Leo Abbs
It may have been xpress 20th birthday party tonight, which is a long time period, but it has also been of some length since I’d seen Eskimo Joe play live. On the train to the city before the show, I realised I hadn’t seen them since last millennium.
Tonight’s show at the concert hall was a seated affair, an experience I have not had since fourth floor collapse’s ‘half deserted streets’ cd launch in 2001. For some bands it worked to their advantage for example Eskimo Joe where the crowd was happy to sit and listen but with bands like Karnivool it was hard for fans to get into the music while sitting down. During the whole night was annoying that some people stood and other’s didn’t.
The Avenues opened the show tonight, perhaps the least known of the bands tonight, despite Triple J airplay. It appears Andy Lawson has taken over more of the vocal duties and that’s a positive as he definitely showed the better singer tonight . He also seemed to have better stage presence but seemed to be trying too hard to rock in a pop band.
Most of Downysde’s set I was outside at the bar, but when I came back in for the last few songs, there were lots of people getting into, standing up and dancing. None of them looked over 16.
Karnivool rarely play to to sitting down crowds, so it felt unusual to be seated during their set, the heaviest of the night. Guitarist was plagued by amp problems an disappeared offstage for one entire song, and while his amp was getting replace. That let the band down a bit but they at least had a second guitarist and the songs were basically there. Kenny’s stage presence left a friend to comment ‘The singer is a bit of nutter’. Despite technical problem I’m sure the band would have gained some new fans.
Besides Karnivool’s technical problems the other big disappointment tonight was End of Fashion. Sure their album is coming out and ‘oh yeah’ is all over the radio, tonight’s set seemed to highlighted that they don’t have enough good songs in the set. Their stage prescence is enjoyable, but the fact is their two biggest songs – one sounds like a hey jude rip off and the latest single, while being catchy is hell, surely they could have thought of better lyrics than ‘O Yeah’, makes me wonder if they are that good.
Like I said earlier, it’s been yonks since I last saw Eskimo Joe, so it would be interesting to see the difference between their early gigs and tonight’s end of multi platinum selling album tour gig.
They opened with the first song of their latest album ‘come down’. And it featured a neat change of Stu switching from acoustic to electric guitar mid song, thanks to the aid of the guitar tech. The stage crew were kept very busy tonight with the instrument swapping.
Majority of the set came from ‘A song is a city; and why not? Besides being a big seller it has some stand out pop tunes Don’t Let it fly, Better with you and Car Crash featuring local muso and friend of the Joe’s, Steve Parkin on vocals, who left the stage telling the crowd, ‘Eskimo Joe – the best band in Australia’.
Lead vocalist Kav had the crowd eating out of his hands, especially when he got everyone to wave their mobiles in the dark in replacement of lighters for a slow song. It was quite a moment. Then when he managed to get the whole crowd to stand for the last song, their biggest hit ‘From The Sea’, you noticed that how big this band had come.
There is no doubt that they shit over that joke band that once sang about jumpers.