It’s a Thursday night and the Ed Castle looks pretty much as would be expected on a Thursday night, especially in Adelaide…when it’s freezing…during exams.
Unfortunately, this is the night that Brisbane indie-esque rock ‘n’ rollers, Grand Atlantic, are launching the first single, ‘Poison to the Vine’, from their upcoming album. The first of four consecutive nights they’re playing on this tour, they nonetheless perform with an energy like that which you’d expect in front of a crowded room.
The London Road Poets start the night with their more definitively indie sound, before Jay Walker and the Pedestrians take the stage. They play a set predominantly featuring new songs and hinting at the darker direction they’re taking on upcoming EP, Liquid Sun. Lead guitarist, Ryan Harris, also does lead vocals on a couple of songs, providing a nice variety and balance with those of front man, Dan Beacom. The sound isn’t great, but this is probably because no one actually appears to be mixing them for a large portion of the set.
The headliners finally take the stage close to midnight, mostly in a surprisingly good mood, considering the minimal turn out and their having had to explain to a couple of gig-goers that having come to see one of the local bands doesn’t grant them an exemption from paying the door charge.
Lead guitarist, Morgan Hann, shows his outstanding skill handling a 12 string (probably one of the only ones this stage has ever seen), and beautifully subtle use of the impressive pedals sitting in front of him. Sean Bower sways with his bass and plays it like it was intended: as a guitar, not a beat.
Fourth song in, ‘Voyager’ is a highlight, oozing sex and sauce, beautifully complemented by red lighting. Front man, Phil Usher, delivers good banter, without resorting to digs at the City of Churches, and they play a glitch-free set. In fact, the main criticism of this band is probably their clichéd song titles.
Having done a number of tours in places as varied as the US and Japan, Grand Atlantic exude the kind of on stage professionalism that you would expect of a band with their experience. But as bassist, Bowers, puts it after the show, ‘We just play for ourselves’. Which isn’t to say that they don’t consider their audience, but certainly explains their remarkable ability to just roll with the punches.
– Dunja Nedic