You know immediately, when walking into Fowlers Live and seeing seven guys onstage with black masks over their heads in nothing but their boxers, means you’re in for a show. What kind of show is yet to be decided, but so far standing in the dark, drawn to the choreographed mayhem onstage, I am somewhat dubious to Adelaide band PUSH WOOD and their half-arsed display of metal anarchy. Giving each other the finger and pussy-pushing each other around, I’m told they are opening because Jonathan Boulet and his band are borrowing their equipment. The sound was heavy; they have potential, and I loved it when one of the guitarists was playing his guitar with the metal stage bar and the drummer’s symbols, but I just don’t believe them. If you’re trying to push the envelope and act hardcore, don’t give someone a half-arsed shove; knock them off the stage. From the way they looked to the statement they were trying to convey, they just didn’t bring the noise. It’s like they were “hell-raising within the boundaries”, too worried to really create a scene in case they don’t get asked back. No big finale at the end, nothing special, Henry Rollins would have stayed by the bar...
You couldn’t get a more eclectic lineup for the night as next up were The Bakers Digest a self-titled ‘folk-n-roll’ band also from Adelaide, dressed in button up shirts (in various pastel shades) and black ribbon tied in bows around their necks. Looking the part and playing a very seventies southern rock sound, they started to draw in the crowd with their funky, electrified folk-rock music and those long locks. With a great visual and a few fantastic keyboard solos, they played known songs "Money Goes Lately" and "Rio", as well as a very cool cover of Marvin Gaye’s "Let’s Get It On". They are a band on the rise; their set is tight, and they seem really comfortable and at ease onstage. This is a band who knows what they are about, conjure up feelings of elder-year music nostalgia (in a good way), and yet have a fresh perspective about them. I am very keen to see them again.
Jonathan Boulet came on to a packed but not-at-capacity crowd, with "Black Smokehat". A confident and really penetrating performer who seems beyond his years, it feels like he is really looking at you as averse to keeping up a barrier between the crowd and the performer. The whole band played really well together and with the extra percussion and Jonathan stomping around, the mood onstage really took off. Being at the front, it was harder to distinguish the reaction of the crowd, but I didn’t feel as big a vibe as I have in the past. Nobody was really letting loose and you had one moron at the front who kept trying to fist-pump Jonathan repeatedly and another, wanting to grab his beard.
But enough of the negative; every track off the new album We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart, was played with gusto, and my favourite song "Hallowed Hag" was spookily good and crowd-stirring. They played with such enthusiasm that the drummer’s snare drum ripped and you could see the PUSH WOOD metal boys off to the side watching J.B.’s performance in admiration. Yeah, that’s how it’s done, fellas. In the middle of the set, one guy shouted out “it’s not just about you, Jon”, and J.B. ribbed back “who said that? Fuck off!” with a sly smile, before agreeing with him and complimenting and introducing his band. He did point to the guy before starting up again, and said “This next song is dedicated to that guy... it’s called "Trounce"”.
"This Song is Called Ragged" actually lit a fire under the crowd’s arses and got everyone whooping and stomping, as well as the other more well-known "Community Service Announcement". During Boulet’s last song, all of the PUSH WOOD guys ran onstage with tops off and the black sacks over their faces, really causing a ruckus this time, grabbing the Boulet team and jumping around but not affecting the brilliance of the last song. Great show.