Rings of Saturn | Thursday 20 June 2019

I was a bit undecided as to whether to see Rings of Saturn on their recent tour but ultimately I was very happy that I made a last minute ‘I’m going’ decision because if I didn’t I would have missed one of the best all-round gigs I’ve seen this year.

First off, there was Rings themselves. I’ve never followed them on disc but I knew what I was in for; or at least I thought I did (going in with pre-conceived notions of what their performance would be like). Seeing Rings live is completely different to hearing them on record. Those detailed guitars sit nicely in a live-room mix and there’s the added presence of the band themselves: watching their frontman twist and turn his hand about in a delicate manner while pig-squealing lyrics is a sight to behold it reinforced to me how charismatic Death lead singers are (more on that later). All in all they were great and I certainly understand why they have a dedicated live following, will definitely catch them again if they’re return to Oz.

Canberra locals Inhuman Remnants were the first band on the night. It’s worth noting these guys have Merch that would be the envy of any band and on this night fans were buying up T-shirts and CDs. I picked up their most recent release for $6 (which I’m guessing is a limited edition given that it’s numbered ‘of 100’). It’s worth noting how ‘pretty’ the CD actually is (the picture below doesn’t do it justice). The foil logo and title offsets the black and greyed design on the right which has a heavy Alien-esque vibe (can see this space suited fella rotting away in the bowels of some Geiger designed spaceship).

Their frontman wandered the floor in front of the stage while singing which was a nice change from the usual (it gave it the feel of a family affair rather than a formal gig. Judging by crowd enthusiasm it all went down well.) I’d definitely like to see these guys again and maybe pick up a bit of that Merch for myself (Basement dwellers seem to sport IR Merch regularly I’ve noticed).

I’d no expectations in relation to Melbourne’s Hollow World so when they started solidly I was pretty pleased, that they got better as their set wore on (and seemingly much louder) was an even more pleasant surprise. I’m kicking myself for not buying more of their Merch but such is the case when you see a band for the first time and don’t know what you’re going to get. Their frontman has phenomenal stage presence and the bands songs are worth more detailed listening. I don’t know if they’ll ever be around Canberra way again but I’d really like to see these guys as a headliner and doing a full hour. As it is I did pick up their most recent EP Beneath the Frozen Sky (see top of page).

Brisbane’s Eternal Rest (I picked up their The Picture of Hatred CD) were the second band on the night. I’d seen their clips on youtube and was generally impressed. Seeing them live was another reminder of the vast difference between what you see on video versus how a band performs live: as good as they were on tape they’re many many times more impressive live. The band was so good and so impressive as a live experience I stood there stunned through most of it and this is a case where every single one of them on stage were working at 110% the whole time (when the bass player is head-banging on stage you know you’ve got yourself one hell of an energetic band). Of course I didn’t capture any video which was a huge mistake, unless you were there then you didn’t get to see a phenomenally committed performance from their frontman. And just to round it all out their nice, polite guys too. Sheesh! I hope they return to Canberra as headliners, I really want to see more of their work.

Just to put this all into perspective, what was originally a gig I never intended to attend turned out to be one of the best I’ve been to all year. There were bands from Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and the U.S. sharing the stage and each one was worthy of being a headliner at their own gigs. The quality of the bands was excellent, I’m probably going to have to do some internet ordering (can’t wait for them to tour again) just to catch up on what I missed at the Merch table. And another, final take-away that really reaffirmed my view of why it’s so necessary to attend gigs and take chances with what you see is that if I hadn’t I would have missed four entirely unique frontmen, each with their own style, dominating the stage (and in the case of IR: the floor in front of the stage) and giving the crowd a genuine ‘experience’ they’ll never forget. Thanks guys! What a night…

Death vs Grind

I’ve been seeing this bill poster for about a week or so now and suddenly it occurred to me to take a photo of it. It’s not too often that you see a good old classic-style black and white bill done this nicely when you’re out and about in town. It doesn’t hurt that it’s for Death and Grindcore bands or that it features Bub from George Romero’s Day of the Dead (I’ve seen Bub show up on bills before; he’s well suited to advertising metal gigs).

The version of the poster I was going to take a picture of was a nice pink one that stood out on a poster board in the middle of town but the day after it went up some losers wallpapered the whole thing with their third rate, glossy paper, all-black dance party bill poster (it even had the usual Ministry of Sound generic rip-off stylised font—in other words, zero creativity involved).

In the nineties you use to see bills like this all over the place (the Belconnen interchange was a hotspot of bill activity). Nowadays, straight forward black and white bills are harder to come by. Frankly I wouldn’t mind a nice pink one of these framed on my wall.

Beyond that: today I heard that someone stole Matt (Sleep, High on Fire) Pike’s guitar pedals. You’d have to be desperate to steal a fellas pedals (or maybe just stupidly opportunistic). Anyway while I guess the likelihood of their return is nil hopefully Pike’ll be back up and running with new pedals soon.