The crowd were just trickling into the Corner Hotel as Tasmanian rockers Captives took the stage on Saturday night, their brand of punky, angst-driven rock falling on sober ears as punters drifted into the room, headed straight for the bar.
Through the first few tracks there was a lack of believability to their sound and presence, however as the set progressed and the room filled, the boys lifted their energy and the songs became more varied, more interesting. The band proved themselves to be a well oiled machine, though a little more creativity in melody and structure wouldn’t go astray.
King of the North opened with an instrumental explosion of sound, a wall of bluesy grunt built by two men, one guitar and a set of drums, drummer Danny Leo instantly proving his right to the Bonham symbol tattooed on his left bicep.
The two piece charged through their set, spraying sweat and tearing eardrums to pieces, vocals and lyrics merely another device to build the wall of sound, on equal terms with the searing guitar and enormous drums. There were no stories told here, no heartfelt moments of tender understanding between artist and audience, but the crowd didn’t care, they were too busy rocking out.
Homesickness and nostalgia are powerful emotions. Everyone loves a change of scenery, a fresh start, but there’s a deep and powerful part of us that will forever remain connected to home. Sometimes the best way to reconnect with our roots is through the music of our homeland, of our childhood.
The room was thick with pendulous greenstone necklaces, and cries of “Chur bro!” and “Mean cuz!” could be clearly heard above the house music as Shihad swaggered onto the stage. Seasoned veterans of the antipodean rock scene, these guys know how to work a crowd, and had the room jumping within seconds of the first chord being struck. Waves of nostalgia-laden excitement washed over the crowd as Frontman Jon Toogood incited even heavier moshing “Fucking jump up and down!!” he yelled, flecks of spit flying into the audience.
To celebrate the 20 year anniversary of their album Killjoy, Shihad delved deep into their archive of hits and underground rock gems, interspersed with tracks from their brand new album FVEY (pronounced Five-Eye).
The style of the set was introduced early on by ‘Comfort Me’ with its blend of heavy Rock riffage and an uplifting, Pop-Rock chorus. This theme continued with 1995 smash hit ‘Home Again’ bringing the nostalgia to a climax followed by the anthemic ‘My Mind’s Sedate’ from 1999’s The General Electric.
After a brief chat about how the leadership of this fine nation (and that of their homeland) are entirely unrepresentative of the average person, the band launched into the politically charged stomp of recently released ‘Grey Area’ as crowdsurfers sailed toward the stage.
Shihad have been around. They’ve seen things, they’ve walked the hard road of musical success and, far from becoming jaded, have continued to hone their craft and build their energy, smashing out angsty, grunty rock numbers like kids half their age. Given the success of their newest album and the frenetic energy with which they drove Saturday night’s performance, after over twenty years, these guys are only just getting started.