Sometimes the most wondrous experiences happen when they are least expected. I headed off to the Espy to see China Vagina, Twenty Two Hundred and Electric Mary not really anticipating more than a fun night watching some local bands play a measure of classic rock but what I (and the other punters) got was a gig that left us truly gobsmacked in the best way.
Notwithstanding the probable jokes that come the way of China Vagina (maybe I should say cum, and that they may be feeling a little delicate…groan), it’s been an eternity since I’ve seen a band that I felt confident about making big predictions for. I haven’t a clue about how the band was named, but that rumination became pointless as soon as the first sounds from this outfit hit the atmosphere.
Anyone who was at the gig will tell you that they rocked the Gershwin. The usual ‘get to the gig just as the headline act comes on’ routine meant that some punters missed out big time. We have all attended shows that we know we’ll remember for a long time, if not forever, and for me this was ‘up there’. For a newish band there was a (ahem…) tightness to the set, sometimes not seen in so-called ‘experienced’ units. Vid (lead vocals) connected with the crowd and had fun as he sweated through songs such as “Gringo”, “Enforcer”, and “Nail in the Coffin”. Watch out for Vid, Batty (bass), Pete (drums), Edan (guitar) and Justin (guitar). If given the support they deserve by the industry, they should earn a substantial following.
By the time Twenty Two Hundred appeared there were ‘ladies’ drinking their beer straight out of the jug. The first notes were accompanied by ockerish cries that were cringe worthy and I couldn’t wait for the set to get into full swing so that the ladettes had something to focus on other than being obnoxious alcohol swilling drunks.
Twenty Two Hundred have obvious influences and even the musically unschooled would have recognised riffs that were reminiscent of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Soundgarden. Ben, Mark, Marcus and Drew ripped through a substantial set that included heavy classic rock beats and some melodic indie sounds. They managed to keep the attention of the inebriated punters near the stage with their energy charged performance, and after “Sweet Dirty”, which was the last song in the set, people were calling out for more. There’s no better gauge of how well the band went down as when the punters can wait a while longer for the main act to take over.
I saw Electric Mary play Cherry Rock this year, and was fortunate enough to witness bass player Alex Raunjak play in the rock theatre production “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place To Be”. Die hard fans would know that the band was conceived in 2003 and since then they’ve recorded a few E.P.’s and a couple of albums. This gig at the Espy was held primarily to launch their new E.P. ‘Long Time Coming’ and a live DVD, both of which feature different songs. ‘Long Time Coming’ was indeed a long time coming. It was a staccato effort, having being put together during some trying times.
We’ve all heard musicians tell of albums written and recorded within a matter of weeks and of other productions taking years. This E.P. certainly didn’t slip into the word effortlessly, but hearing the songs played live we were unaware of any birthing pains and complications. The only pains I felt were from the elbows of the drunken patrons ‘standing’ next to me. I decided to retire to the more refined recesses of the Gershwin to watch the rest of Electric Mary’s set in relative safety. By this time not another soul could have fit into the Gershwin’s confines. The gig was a sellout, and on reflection that’s not at all surprising.
It was tough to discern the new songs from the older ones, simply because they were all executed so brilliantly. Greedily snatch with both hands the opportunity to listen to “Stained” and “All Eyes On Me”, along with the other four songs on the E.P. Even better go see an Electric Mary gig when they return from Europe and get some superb home-grown rock (without the bullshit) into ya’.