Words by Rangi White.
Photos by Sam Townsend of Melting Wax Photography.
A thousand raucous laughs and heartwarming smiles echo through my slightly fragile-feeling mind as I sit crumpled in the back seat of my friend’s car writing this, and the antics of a monumental night come flooding back to me in a rather blurry fashion. The beer was cold. The conversations were scintillating. The riffage…was insane.
As I’ve never had the pleasure of setting foot in Mo’s Desert Clubhouse in Burleigh Heads, I was hugely impressed by the entire vibe of the venue – a perfect scene for the last show of riff-lords Hobo Magic’s “Hooroo Tour.” With both aesthetic and acoustic merit, the long, tall concert hall beset with gorgeous murals was filled with sound and emotion, as incredible bands and fans alike came together to celebrate one of the final Aussie performances of Hobo, the unofficial but unquestionable kings of Aussie groove rock (before they flee to Europe) – and FUCK we did it well. With an extensive bill showcasing some incredible artists, Beats Cartel can be happy with the quality of their send-off.
Opening the night was Goldy local band The Aunties, a three-piece collective of great talent and even greater potential. They kicked off the festivities in style, as Jarad Birt (Guitar/Vox), Jai Watkins (Bass) and Michael Birt (Drums) launched into their performance with fervour. I enjoyed Jarad’s voice, his vocal timbre resemblant of many early grunge vocalists, and it was accentuated well by the cohesive tightness of the rhythms lain down by Michael and Jai, who’s well-structured phrasing allowed Jarad’s vocal melodies to be distinguishable in far greater detail than if they were following more contemporary song structures. Their interesting blend of groove/blues style mixed with a classic metal sounding guitar tone made for an interesting and engaging performance, and caused me to be very excited to see what these guys will come up with in the future.
Second on the bill was Rinser, another great showcase of blues/contemporary fusion. With a faster, more jumpy and energetic approach to their sound, I was availed as to the reason why they took out the Gold Coast heats of Beats Cartel band competition/festival Mojo Burning, and why they were received so positively by all I spoke to who saw them there. Their decision to play last night’s set with a vintage 80’s style aerobics jazzercise video projected upon the wall behind them set the mood for an energetic show – one I enjoyed thoroughly! Charlie Seymour-Grant (Vox/Guitar) Andy Rosenberg (Bass) Dave Heavyside (Drums) Aaron Brown (Lead Guitar) played their set with colloquial ease, conversing with the crowd and each other onstage like they’d almost done it before. Seymour-Grant proved himself as a proficient vocalist with impressive range and tone, and the vocal melodies he utilised were almost reminiscent of some power metal I’ve heard (along the lines of Iron Maiden and so forth) which in turn made for an interesting contrast over the top of their tight heavy blues rock sound. Another impressive aspect I noticed was Browns ability to comprehensively utilise his effects pedals in order to emphasise all of his lead guitar parts – licks and solos – over the rest of the band. Overall, I thought their set proved to be a brilliant showcase of energy and skill.
After that was Cakes. Only having lived in Brisbane for a few months, I can recall that from the few gigs I’d seen up until prior, Cakes was definitely one of the most memorable bands I’d stumbled across. Cakes is Jake (Guitar/vox) and Sam (Drums/vox) As a drummer myself, I felt like I was justified in turning around to my friend Jarrah Thornell (drummer of fellow local band Stoker) midway through Cakes’s set and asking him “What the FUCKKKKK is going ON UP THERE??” To be honest, he looked about as confused as I was. With incomparable rhythmic ability, they showed everyone in the crowd a thing or two about impeccable timing, and alien-like song-writing. Their performance was visually intense – from Sam screaming his lungs out through his snare drum-mic to Jake leaping on to the kick drum and conducting the most discombobulated cacophony of sound I’ve heard in a while with his guitar – I was as per usual blown away. With their heavy prog-laced sound still bouncing around my cranium, I can say without any doubt that as a two-piece band, in the south east Queensland scene they have probably taken the title as the best…though I’d probably only recommend their music to people who know how to count.
The Black Armada took to the stage next, and I don’t know if anyone was really ready for the ensuing sounds…the police standing outside the venue definitely weren’t. With one of the most voluminous vocal performances I’ve witnessed in a while, these guys played a great set despite the volume control limits being imposed by the boys in blue. Christian Tryhorn (mastermind of Beats Cartel and last night’s show) on Guitar, Simon Meli (Vox) Jamie Roberts (Bass) and Jack Parkes (Drums) all came together in a brilliant onstage unison, they displayed contemporary 70’s style rock style to a tee. I was impressed by their synchronised onstage movements, their ability to harness all ends of their genre – leaping from Zeppelin to Skynard’ and back again, and the dynamic that I resultantly witnessed. With the OK from outside finally being given, the coppers left and Tryhorn leapt to his amp and wound up the volume knob with glee, and they continued to deliver.
Second last on the list was Boing Boing and…well damn, I didn’t really know what to expect with these guys but whatever premonitions I may have had beforehand about their sound were wayyyyy off. Shit really started to kick off when these boys jumped on stage, everyone had their fill of the smoker’s area and finally all culminated inside for a wicked fucking show. I’ve always thought of the concepts Psychadelia and Aussie Larrikinism as polar opposites but somehow these guys manage to put them together. Their driving garage/surfy style instrumental grooves were fun to listen to, however the juxtaposition of MC Albo’s drunkpunk vocals over the top was interesting…definitely captivating. I was thrilled at their ability to use crowd participation – the whole room was sitting on the floor during the latter part of their performance as Albo told the story of ‘Old man Crocodile’ who was sick of eating people from up north, and so decided to come to Gold Coast in the search for tastier morsels. His spoken word hilarity and their colloquial approach to performing was so much fun to be a part of, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of their set. For best results, this band is definitely best consumed with a chaser of however much beer you can get your hands on – you’ll have a good time.
Now, outta all the musical chefs I know, these boys cook up a real tasty puddin. (Best served with a lil bit of cosmic cream…or custard. Not too much of either though, ya know you don’t wanna overpower the pud.) Soooooo look. To whoever’s reading this, you have to bear with me. Hobo Magic was one of the first live bands I properly ever saw – at the age of 16 – and my appreciation for them has never dimmed. To write a review that does them justice is gonna be difficult, and in all honesty I’m somewhat inclined to take my friends advice and just describe them as “EPIC” and leave the review at that. There’s really very little more to be said. Unfortunately, I like over embellishing things as much as possible so y’all can get fucked, let me fangirl for a moment. Connor Mitchell, Jake “Greasy” Bennett and Luke Hanson are three musicians who have been inspirations to me for a long time, in their musical ability and in their ability to be general all round legends, and the fact that they’ve transcended the Aussie music scene and are now embarking on an unexpected journey all the way to Europe to wage war on the riff-less gives me hope for the future of this genre of music.
Their utter mastery of heavy groove rock is Tolkien-esque in the way it breaks down your door and rips you from your hobbit hole and hurls you into a world of unimaginable landscapes, fantastical sounds and sights, and ridiculously psychedelic-influenced atmospheric beauty. Rolling fields and towering mountains are audible in Connors guitar playing, battles of monstrous proportions take place inside Greasy’s bass cab, and each of Luke’s drum fills sound like a vast citadel collapsing into the earth…very rhythmically. The expose of technical wizardry that they present onstage is something I will dearly miss watching whence they go on their crusade, however I know that wherever the hell they go, they will take the good word of the holy riff with them, and they shall spread it to the hordes of those hungry for good music. I could write my adoration for these guys and their music into a seperate book if I really wanted to, but I won’t…I will conclude by saying that out of all of the people I wish success upon, these boys probably deserve it the most.
The show was incredible. Such a brilliant venue, such an expansive selection of artists, and such a great social environment to be in…the fun didn’t even really start until afterwards! The antics of the resulting party were a pleasure to witness and be a part of – some unforgettable memories forged with even more unforgettable people – which considering the amount of alcohol that was consumed, is really rather saying something. Huge thanks to Beats Cartel for putting on the night, and massive props to Hobo for getting this far. Now fuck off outta our music scene and give us beginner riffers a chance!!