In many cases nowadays it happens that bands forgo a degree of consistency in an attempt to be resoundingly original, most often to their detriment. As Kingswood took to the stage for their sold out show at The Workers Club on Friday night, it was evident that this was a shortcoming these guys have never succumbed to.
Fellow Melbourne locals Damn Terran and Money for Rope set the tone of the evening early on, playing unapologetic, pedal-to-the-metal rock and roll; drawing consistent and enthusiastic applause from the already gathering crowd. Proving that all three bands on the This Epic Tour line-up were more than capable of stipulating more than the standard spattering of applause usually afforded to support bands.
Damn Terran’s dark, driving post-punk lead seamlessly into Money For Rope’s energetic and engaging blues-infused rock, not to mention Money For Rope’s use of two drummers, which means both thunderous rhythms and of course a significant degree of commitment. (seriously, try lugging around even one drum set!)
Having well and truly warmed their voices to the tune of a more than capable opening line-up, an air of anticipation descended on the assembled fans for the emergence of the headliners.
It’s a good time to be Kingswood, as their new single ‘Medusa’ receives a resoundingly positive reception they embark on a three-week tour around the country, and to top it all off, they have just been awarded an opening night performance at Splendour in the Grass as part of Triple J Unearthed; and watching them play, you can see why.
Kingswood approached their performance as if they were headlining Glastonbury. Disgustingly well-rehearsed, their set is seamless and enthralling, inspiring even the most self-assured Melburnian fans to lose themselves in a frenzy of hands in air, fist pumping, foot-stomping energy.
Despite every effort by The Workers Club’s sound set-up to sabotage Kingswood’s performance, the band didn’t falter and managed to keep the audience on side, despite constant glances of ‘have they still not fixed the fucking fold-back?’ being shot across the room.
“The sound is fucked, it’s not our fault, lets just get into it!” Announces Alex Laska, to the delight of the crowd as the band launch headlong into ‘Yeh Go Die’. Patrons force their way forward as Laska enters the fray, maintaining a seditious guitar solo as he is lifted into the air amidst the eager crowd. As the soles of his shoes sail through the air Laska easily affirms that he is one of the most accomplished rock and roll guitarists our country has to offer.
Continuing sound problems do little to phase the quartet, despite the obvious dissatisfaction amidst the group. “We’re pretty much playing blind up here, does it sound ok to you guys?” vocalist Fergus Linacre asks of his audience.
Jumping into new single ‘Medusa’ this frustration immediately melts away, as Linacre delivers his signature, soaring wail reminiscent of what could best be described as Bon Scott and Robert Plant’s love child. Bassist Mango Hunter and drummer Justin Debrincat clearly strain to hear amidst the ever-failing fold-back, but in a testament to the bands preparedness and competency on stage, neither noticeably miss a beat throughout the course of the evening.
Ultimately, Kingswood were let down in the most unfortunate fashion, but if anything, this only served to affirm the consistency of the Melbourne quartet. Given the right circumstances, they have all the ingredients and the professionalism to make it in the big leagues and comfortably hold their own. As one pint-drinking punter unceremoniously announced post-show “these guys have what it takes to be the biggest band in the country!” Although this might not be the best place to look for some words of wisdom, strangely enough, he may just be right.
– Morgan Benson