Thursday 25 February 2010 saw the second of the Fuse Festival showcases take place in Adelaide. Fuse Ignition was held at 18 venues across Adelaide, where a total of 55 Adelaide and interstate bands flooded the live music scene, which no doubt led to some serious partying throughout the city.
Out of all these venues, I chose to see The Battery Kids at Jive, partly because after listening to the MySpace tracks of the majority of bands above I decided The Battery Kids had the most rocking, but non-conforming-to-indie-rock sound ... and partly because I had met the singer Shannon Juvan at Fuse Explode! the night before and I kind of promised him I’d go.
Having done my research, I’d read other reviews of The Battery Kids and a common theme emerged. These guys knew how to pour their heart and soul into their performance; they were going to play like they were playing to a crowd of thousands. And they did. Bassist Tom Krieg is the kind of artist who still manages to sound good and keep in time even when lying on his back on the stage or swinging his bass around his head.
The Battery Kids hit this show hard from the start. Opening with the powerful "Ghost Town", the band had the crowd engaged, and the tone was set for the rest of their set. "Ghost Town" was a great example of the balance The Battery Kids set between sharp organ melodies, big driving basslines, crisp guitar, Shannon’s vocals and the harmonic backing vocals.
The guitars were soaked in distortion throughout the show, which created a more effective sound for their songs live, however Bowl Lipson’s keys struggled for a clear place in the sound, which was disappointing as they really stand out on the MySpace tracks. Jive is a good sized venue for The Battery Kids sound however, even if the subtleties of the keys were lost in the mix.
The third track was their epic song "Ancient Curse", a catchy riff based rock song with a great chorus. It’s the type of rock and roll you leave the venue singing in your head
After three strong tracks, I felt the pace was lost slightly due to a heavy, distorted instrumental, followed by a song that had great arrangement but a confusing chorus.
The next couple of songs, including "Swinging on a Thread", the lyrics of which form the title of The Battery Kids upcoming album, really cemented one thing for me about the band – their liberal,but suitable use of smashing, hard staccato rhythms. All members stayed tight throughout the whole gig, and this was driven largely by Shannon Simpson’s superb timing behind the kit.
The vocal harmonies continued throughout the show, Shannon Juvan sang like he wanted to lose his voice the next day, and Tom kept the energy high, easily being the most physically active member on the stage. I could list of a number of artists I heard in their sound, but the one that stuck out was the simple, structured riff based rock they pulled out towards the end of the show, progressively getting heavier on the most basic riff. These guys were writing Them Crooked Vultures riffs long before Homme and Co.
Ending out with their latest single and a cover of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ "Red Right Hand", in which drummer Shannon really consolidated his amazing effort all night with a standout performance, The Battery Kids left the audience with no doubt they work hard for their music. On a night where I could have gone to any band in the Ignition showcase, I was satisfied I had made the right choice.
The Battery Kids debut album We’re Just Hanging While the Rats All Gather and The Vultures Circle Overhead will be released mid 2010.