Words by Tracey Moyle.
Photos by Luke Sangiogio.
Full gallery HERE.
Friday night at Tomcat had a packed house for the Ellis Dewald launch of new single We All Know. And the supporting line up was one that any rock fan will talk about for a long time coming. What’s your genre? Stoner, blues, funk, Indie, Classic, Aussie Pub, Heavy, as long as it’s Rock this was the night Brisbane and Gold Coast’s kick arse heavy hitters came out to play and showed us all that Rock is alive and well and patiently embedding its way into the hearts and souls of Australian music fans.
First up was Jollee, who is no stranger to playing in front of a crowd, opening for acts including Wolfmother, The Preatures and Ali Barter just to name few. Brooke Mowett was about to bare her brilliantly gritty musical soul and the already crowded room proved that this was no secret. Opening with the very cool, bluesy number, I want you, Mowett was incredibly comfortable on stage and her demanding vocals had all punters in the venue step in for a look. With only guitar and drums, their sound was much bigger than you’d expect and second song, White Woman Wasted, had everyone paying attention to the strong soulful blues vocals. Mowett’s banter between songs was brilliant again proving her ease with a crowd as she carried on rocking the room with her powerful voice carrying us through everything from the slow and bluesy Devils Food to gutsy rock tune of Middle Finger Pistol. With their final song Gypsy Man, the room was full and loving every gritty, bluesy, rockin’ minute of it. Their sound is huge, lyrically it’s fun and she is a perfect example of why women are born to rock. Would love to see Jollee support Halestorm later this year. She has a certain Lzzy Hale quality that will have me going back for more.
More brilliant talent up next with Mister Sister. This five piece Brisbane Rock band are no strangers to performing and lead vocalist Paige Hopper was born to be a front woman. Another gorgeous female who can rock, Hopper opened the set with the funky rock number Are You? An obviously strong fan base was present and eager to see the show. Run followed with their own upbeat Indie/Alt rock sound that had the room dancing. With strong sexy vocals, great bass and brilliant lead guitar next song, Hynotised had us all exactly that. The rock kept up with Nobody, the more bluesy Crazy continued on, ending with covers of Heartbreak Hotel and These Boots are Made for Walking. Finishing off with Stockholm Sydrome, Mister Sister kept the rock alive and kicking and the Tomcat crowd was full of energy ready for more.
Third in the line up was Heavy Roller. The gravelly heavy rock vocals of lead singer, Dwain took me back to Aussie pub rock days of old. (Showing my age) Opening up with Jugs and Heavy Roller, the classic heavy riffs were strong and the vocals were raw. Song after song they gave the growing crowd upbeat, hard rock, powered on by an eager mob of all ages, drawn to the authentic Aussie rock sound of songs like Barfly and Hellfire. This band’s sound had images flying through my head of Rose Tattoo, Motorhead and at times AC/DC and ZZ Top. For a moment I was a teenager with a bad attitude again. They absolutely rocked the place closing with crowd favourite Scavengers and Burning Dollars. Heavy Rollers are the epitome of classic hard rock Aussie style. A sound I find missing from today’s rock sub-genres. Their very own Facebook description sums it up perfectly; “Picture a bar fight between Bon Scott, Lemmy, Billy Gibbons and John Garcia with Sabbath blasting through the jukebox and you’ll get an idea of what they’re about.”
Fourth act of the night Gold Coast band Baltimore Gun Club are almost local music Rock Royalty. Many in the crowd were obviously there to see these guys play and it was quickly evident why. Their unique blend of stoner rock fused with brilliant grunge undertones and dominant bass guitar producing almost heavy funk vibes gives them a sound that resonates with Aussie rock fans of the last 20 years. From the brilliant Goumar to the fast and furious Rob Zombiesque Apollo, BGC had it down and the crowd were loving every second. Pysmon’s vocals in My Days with it’s fast/slow tempo reminiscent of Nirvana and an angrier Pixies was brilliant but nothing impressed me as much as Ronnie’s skills on the drums. Best drum solo ever. Looking back at my notes I’ve written down comparisons to Foo Fighters, Rob Zombie, Nirvana, and a little bit of Tumbleweed, Amonia and with a hint of Spiderbait. It’s a crazy combination, and eclectic mix, but it is its own beast and I love it.
Finally the time has arrived and Ellis Dewald are keen and hit the stage a few minutes early to start their set. The Brisbane three piece are ready to officially release their new track to the fans. Everyone has been primed ready for the main act and once the music starts the crowd are moving. Playing songs off their ‘City Black’ EP, their blend of hard and heavy funk rock with a shade of stoner is well received with Light of Night taken in by the crowd, with it’s cool blues riffs and Billy’s gravelly rock vocals. Hammer gets the crowd moving with a sense of urgency from the drums and awesome guitar hooks. A great song with Billy killing it on vocals. With the brilliant rock number Head it’s catchy chorus and brooding bass tones taking it up a level the crowd respond. From upbeat to moody giving us Nick Cave meets Jim Morrison feels with Brisbane Summer Storm. Finally the new single is unleashed with We All Know and it’s funky rock sound belting out filling every corner of Tomcat. A great track with the promise of something special coming up with the future release of their ‘City Colours’ EP.
Every band that played Tomcat this night had their own individual rock voice. This blend of sub-genres within the ever expanding rock music sounds is constantly giving birth to something new and again proving that Rock is Alive and thriving in our incredibly creative city. They are a overwhelmingly positive example of the brilliant talent we have slogging it out in our clubs and pubs and that feeling of a re-emergence of rock in all its forms its quietly exciting.