Friday night, Sydney’s iconic Metro Theatre was graced for the first time by Melbourne/Sydney rockers, The Delta Riggs, who were joined by openers, Food Court and Harts, and I was lucky enough to catch it all live.
As a person with a need for immediate gratification and a “skip to the main event” personality, admittedly I’m rarely overly impressed with opening acts. But I would be doing you, the audience, a disservice if I didn’t tell you about Harts, a one-man band backed by a talented drummer. Harts pulled out guitar licks to rival Jimmy Page, Hendrix, and all the greats before him. This Melbourne-native is pure classic Rock and Roll, with an on stage charisma that modern guitar players are so often lacking. Playing tracks like Lovers In Bloom, Breakthrough, and a throw back Jimi Hendrix song, Harts had the considerable audience’s full attention. What’s most interesting about this artist is that compared to his recordings, this two-piece ensemble sounds way fuller live. Do yourself a favour and check Harts out in person.
Now for the moment we’ve all really come here for: The Delta Riggs. Adding to an already impressively full venue, audience members who looked like they took their hair cue from Julian Casablancas + The Voidz trickled in to fill every gap of the massive Metro Theatre. For a first time performance or otherwise, the band’s audience turn out was impressive—hopefully an indication that this large venue will be the first of many to come.
Amidst a stage scattered with bottles of Coopers and Jameson, the band kicked off their set with, “Stars” the first track off their debut album, Hex.Lover.Killer. The set was energetic and enthralling, but with necessary explanation: as cohesive and talented as the band is in its entirety, this night was really one in favour of the dynamic front man. With mic swings and dance moves to match Mick Jagger’s off-kilter swagger, front man, Elliott Hammond took the stage with a captivating arrogance you won’t find anywhere outside of Rock and Roll. When one considers the band’s recent Rolling Stone Award for Live Act Of The Year, it’s clear to anyone with eyes or ears that Hammond is primarily responsible for that, though an honourable mention goes to the Riggs’ lead guitarist, who held his own playing the Richards to Hammond’s Jagger throughout.
The band was joined on set for two tracks, the first being, “Supersonic Casualties” during which Dylan Frost, front man of Sticky Fingers, haphazardly took the stage. Later, for the instrumental track, “Save It ’til The Morning” Harts was invited back on stage for a second opportunity to prove that he’s the best guitar player in the venue. The band played all of their singles, as well as a new track, “Hey Victor” fresh off their Dipz From The Zong EP, and closed with a four-song encore, much to the delight of their chanting audience.
All in all, Rolling Stone had it right: with guitar-solo face-offs, harmonica intervals, and a presence that made the massive Metro Theatre feel comparably small, this sounds-even-better-live act was the best show I’ve seen in Australia.