La Scala, London, 21st Dec 2010
After the shambles of the third test, the last place I really wanted to be was surrounded by Aussies. Loads of them. But they were out in a frozen Kings Cross by the bucketload for WA's prog heroes Karnivool. Not that the sedate game played in long white trousers was on anyone's mind this evening.
A packed La Scala was in party mood and ready to lap up the heady musical cocktails being served up. Shaken and stirred.
I have to admit, I hadn't heard of either of the support bands, but was yearning for something new and intoxicating. First up were Kill Goliath. And they certainly didn't disappoint. From the crisp and intricate drum pattern that kicked of the first number, they launched into all manner of crazy time-signatures and catchy riffs with hair-raising drops and a real dollop of good musicianship. They reminded me of a heavier Xcerts without the poppy bits.
The wee celtic frontman hunched behind a left-handed SG sang confidently and looked like a cross between the little welsh prat from Stereophonics and Tim from Ash. But with better hair. I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I must admit though, the constant shifting time signatures did on a couple of occasions sound a little affected and show off pick your nose and blow off. I had a nagging feeling this is the drummer's band. Saying that, it's not a bad thing and they went down very well. Some of their tuneage is on the widgety thing on the right. Check them out.
|Jurojin. My new favourite band. Well kind of. Look, they've got tablas which has got to be good.|
So, what next? Well, a loose 5 piece collective called Jurojin, that's what. And wow. Just wow. I was seriously blown away. Folky, proggy, metallic, heavy, world, ethnic, technical, tuneful; just astonishing. The only reason I can't give them 5 stars is I obviously didn't know any of their tunes. And I don't know how to colour a star in half in HTML. But they are ones to watch. The lead singer was always in control of his tenor-ranged voice. No screamo, pig squeals, no Robert Plant ear-splitting histrionics, just a smooth, beautifully tuned almost folky voice with trills, vibrato and genuine originality.
The bass, drums and guitar were all mastered. Heavy and dark to funky, jazzy and soulful. Man, like this lot. Then when you thought it couldn't get better a tabla payer (yup, a tabla player - and a bloody good one) was wheeled out.
Like any new band you see for the first time that make such an impression you really hope they'll go on to marvellous and world-beating things; but with this lot, I really mean it. Original, talented, entertaining and, well, just bloody brilliant.
In the words of David Coverdale, here's a tune for ya:
How the heck would Ian Kenny and the Karnivool boys top my new favourite band?
Well, lights down, expectations up and straight into the plinky plonky opening to Simple Boy showed how. And some.
Kenny with his new crew cut was in commanding form. He strutted. strained and seduced the adoring sardines in the full house. The set was the perfect balance of sing-alongs, proggy noodlings, heavy as hell riffage and rare and fragile beauty. No sexy fiddle player though. Sadly.
|The boys, foolishly had Creme Eggs on the rider. Schoolboy error.|
By all accounts, they're really kicking off in their home land and on this evidence, they're gathering a grand old following in the Motherland. An over 18's audience dissolved and regressed into excitable and fawning teenyboppers. Enthusiastic but mildly genteel pits sprung up, there was a smattering of crowd surfing (especially from Aussie-looking birds that looked as though they were refugees from The Church) and just about everyone sang along.
|What would sir and madam like to drink?|
It was sweaty, energetic, triumphant, loud, perfectly performed with enough deviation from the recorded versions not to be on a heavy Steely Dan tip with solos played note-for-note. That would be horrid.
The guys looked like they really enjoyed themselves and there was a mutual energisation exchange witchcrafty thing with the enraptured throng which added even more love to a love-packed room.
I saw the Vool earlier this year at Islington and it felt a little staid and removed. Tonight made up for it in spades. A different band. A different crowd. A different class.
More tunes soon. Bwoooar!
Oh, and have a grand Chrimbo.
Here's a little festive pressie, an acoustic version of The Mighty Proceed's Tricycle Journey. Merry new year.
A Tricycle Journey (acoustic version) by PROCEED