Review/Photos by Dylan McArdle
It’s always nice to walk into the venue and instantly hear some you like and that was the case on Friday night at the Norfolk Basement when opening act The Shake Up had already taken the stage. Sure, they are a no-frills punk/garage rock band, but they were very catchy and entertaining. The boys looked like they were enjoying playing and didn’t care if the crowd was still kinda sparse. It was nice to see some dancers in the crowd share the bands on-stage energy. I would have bought their two track CD if they were selling it minus their T-shirt, but luckily for me their downloadable from their MySpace site. Definitely a band I’ll look to check out again.
Tame Impala are one band making some noise over in the west and it was no surprise to see them on the bill now they are signed to Modular Records. Once a side project of fellow up-and-comers Mink Mussel Creek, these guys are now a formidable act in their own right. They not only have the retro look (almost to match the surrounding they were in), but the sound too and just that right amount of reverb coming through the speakers. And they’ve been around long enough to sound polished and the building crowd appreciated this. Singer Kevin Parker has a really great voice. As usual, they left their best track (Half Full Glass of Wine) ’till last and I know these boys have a bright future ahead of them (especially with a debut release coming up).
Now I’ve seen Rocket Science plenty of times before so I knew what to expect. Crazy vocals and stage antics from lead singer Roman Tucker and powerful keyboards set them apart from other rock bands, not to mention the theremin as well. But it’s been a while since they’ve last toured and to be honest Roman has stepped his performance up, a lot. I don’t think I’d seem him leave his post behind the keyboard much, but this time when he wasn’t playing he was strutting his stuff at the front of the stage and off stage too. I guess there’s nothing like a bit of crowd venturing and Roman did this during Six Foot Four early in the set and later on he let loose on Modern Life. It was easy to see why he was sweating so much, and I’m actually quite surprised he didn’t hurt himself. He did manage to tear a whole in the arse of his pants though!
With such a showman up front, the rest of the band kinda pales in comparison but it is important to note that there was a new guitarist on stage – Micky Heartbreaker. He may have only being playing in the band 3 or 4 weeks but he looked like an old hand and considering he’s been playing with Kit and Roman in side project The Ransome Brothers.
As with any good album tour show the band played the best of the new record and the best of what they previously had to offer – and there was no differing from the formula here. It was a thoroughly good set, high on energy and intensity. After the hour or so set there was an encore – short but sweet with a couple more songs that had some of the crowd asking where On Robot was. For me – my ears hurt, my feet were sore and I’d sweated heaps more than I’d like but bloody hell I’d enjoyed myself. This was one of the best live sets I’ve seen this year, not quite as good as Shihad @ Capitol a couple of weeks back but not far off. It was a worthy performance from a band that’s earned their reputation as a mighty fine live band.