Although Melbourne’s weather was cold and blustery there was an enormous contrast of climate within the walls of the  Ding Dong Lounge. Friday night the 13th of May marked the release of Trial Kennedy’s long awaited second album, Living Undesigned.

The early knew they were in for a less than ordinary night when the electricity rose in the air as the Melbourne band Static took charge on stage. Static wasted no time getting cocking things up a notch. Lead vocalist Gez with his strong stage presence commanded the audience’s attention and their punk/rock sound was a definite way to heat up the venue. The band had no problem engaging with the audience by yelling out to individuals and even leaping off the stage to lick a well deserving fan’s face in appreciation. Chemistry flowed between both audience and band whilst playing songs from their self titled album including ‘Any Of This’ and ‘In Your Head’. The four piece band produced a dynamic sound and showed great showmanship.

As the darkness outside brewed more ghastly chilly weather more bodies crammed into the venue generating a toasty warmth. Second supporting act was charismatic clean cut bunch of men The Fearless Vampire Killers. Front man Seán Ainsworth’s hat shared resemblance to Peter Doherty’s trade mark style. Scratchy vocals accompanied backup harmonies, twangy guitar articulations, heavily percussive beats and deep bass line combined to showcase a Country Western and rocking blues sound reminiscent of the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.

This sound was conveyed through songs ‘Alright Now Honey’, ‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘For You And Me’ the recently released song of their debut album (due to be release mid 2011). The Fearless Vampire Killers are magnetic when pulling an audience and know how to get the dance floor shaking. Unquestionably, this band has a lot to offer in the future.

Trial Kennedy hit the stage and knocked the temperature up to boiling point. A full house had come to see and hear the new material and all eyes were on the stage as the viewers anticipated hearing their new material. A pure and vibrant performance, Trial Kennedy threw their bodies into motion leaping off the stage, plunging themselves in to the crowd to really make that important connection with fans.

There was a terrific spectrum of lights, which helped to alter the moods of songs and visually captured the powerful energy the band emits. The rugged up crowd soon threw off their coats and sweaters as soon as the first two singles from the album, ‘Strange Behaviour’ and ‘Best Of Tomorrow’ off the new album Living Undersigned had their premiere. In the midst of the set vocalist and guitarist Tim Morrison performed a heart felt, yearning rendition of Chris Isaak’s song ‘Wicked Game’. His powerful voice projected lyrics which amplified some gut retching subject matter. Seemingly powering through the set the audience demanded an encore.

Progressively the audience grew aggressive; yelling, whistling, clapping and some even someone grasping the mic on stage to gain some attention. The band dutifully returned to the stage to perform an oldie from their previous album New Manic Art, ‘Neighbours’ and from their first release Pictureframe the crowd favourite ‘Knife Light’.

Trial Kennedy have returned to the live scene bigger and better than ever as demonstrated by the sold out venue, and their new album demonstrates not only a vast progression as songwriters and musicians, but a newfound maturity in their work which will cement their place in the pantheon of Australian rock n’ roll.

–        Rachel McLaren