Sunday, 18 August 2013

Gig Review - The Blackwater Fever

The Blackwater Fever
with Rattlehand, The Good Sports and Boss Moxi
Live @ The Zoo (16/08/13)
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders

Friday night. It had been a long week. I arrived home from work late, confused about the weather, wondering what to wear now that winter seemed to have disappeared. I threw on my favourite boots and rushed out the door to face: traffic. This particular Friday night, there seemed to be a magnetic force between my car and every red light, forcing me to stop hundreds (ok, an exaggeration) of times between my house and the Valley. This did not make me a happy live music lover.

Things got interesting at one particular set of lights. Parked in a mini traffic jam outside The Zoo, staring at another red light, I put my windows down to start the first part of my night. I could hear a familiar sound that often wafts across Ann Street; the sound of guitars and drums entertaining the punters inside and the street people outside. I'm so sorry Boss Moxi! Their pseudo psychedelic 70's style rock sounds are ones I know I would have liked, as from my car they sounded impressive, so I'm hoping I get to witness this for myself sometime soon. I might have been sitting at red light, but I gave Boss Moxi a green light from the drivers seat.

By the time I'd fought the traffic on the roads and the pedestrian traffic on the footpaths, the interesting sight of two 'Australia' beanies, a guy from the 60's and two hipsters awaited me on The Zoo stage. The Good Sports were such an interesting mix of fashion from numerous decades, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but the surf rock sounds that came from the amps were great. I couldn't understand a word of what was said due to the extreme reverb, I couldn't figure out if they were a joke band or not, but they were definitely fun.

The fun was confirmed when drinks were delivered to the stage by friends and the song that seemed their strongest ended the set with a "this is our last song. No, wait, that was our last song..." after they finished. That made me laugh, in a good way and The Good Sports clearly had a lot of fun, which is what counts most. Another green light given for band that had a good time and gave a good time.

By the time Rattlehand took to the stage, I was immediately impressed. Clearly, from the very first note of the first song, this is a band that know their blues, know their country, know their talent and aren't aren't afraid to indulge in all of those things. Powering through a set of bluegrass, country and rock, I couldn't help but sway and get lost in some intense story telling lyrics that all good country blues bands should be.

Engaging the crowd in conversation, I wasn't prepared for how good Rattlehand were and they got even better when they invited the audience to the stage to collect a 'free song in a bottle'. Yes please. Download very appreciated! Finishing with 'Wellhead Blues', a song with a special message; "don't fuck the world!", this is a band I am a definite fan of and look forward to hearing more of the their goodness. Yes, Rattlehand deserved a big green light in my Friday night.

This gig of The Blackwater Fever is one I'd been waiting to see for a while. After falling for their awesome dirty rock blues last year at a gig they played with Gin Wigmore, then becoming a confirmed fan at the release of their album The Depths earlier this year, I knew I was going to witness something special on Friday night. Opening with the deep, dark sounds of 'When The Night Comes', they proved they're a band not to mess with. Although the crowd wasn't huge, it seemed that the intense sounds drew every person in the venue to the stage, Shane Hicks' vocal dragging the people from the bar to the front and Jed A. Walters' dramatic stage presence hard to ignore.

Sometimes blues, sometimes driving drums, sometimes simple rock n roll, sometimes magical keys, they were the band I had expected, totally amazing, a little enigmatic and a lot of impressive, it was hard not to move and sing along to tracks like 'Won't Cry Over You' and it was hard not to be in awe of the drumming skills of Andrew Walter on songs like 'Seven White Horses'.

The three guys that are The Blackwater Fever make up one of those bands that were born to perform. The dramatic pause between 'Don't Fuck With Joe' and 'Now She's Gone' proved that they think about their performance, they love what they do and they like to reward those that make the effort to see them. To watch them perform songs like 'Can't Help Yourself' with such intensity and 'Oh Deceit' with such vigour was such a pleasure, this is the type of band that makes seeing live music so much fun and makes me keep fighting traffic to get to gigs over and over again. The Blackwater Fever? I give you the biggest green light of the night, you were worth every red light I faced to get there and I'd sit through a hundred more to see you play again!

You can check out some pics from the gig (and a heap of other gigs too!) over on facebook and also on instagram

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