It is an unfortunate reality that support bands generally don’t get much support. Not only are they used to fine tune sound and stage issues for the headlining band, they also usually only play to a fraction of the crowd. It can be frustrating for the band, and the first band of the night usually does their best but fails to have the impact they would otherwise. Unless that band is Sworf, who not only grabbed their chance with both hands at the recent Calling All Cars gig at the Union Jack Hotel, they also kicked it straight in the nuts and set the tone for an epic night of live entertainment.
The crowd was relatively small but was whipped into action from the get go, with set opener Eating Money, smashing punters in the face and the pace not letting up from there. Rumours swept through the club shortly before the set that the boys had a surprise in store for the keen concertgoers who turned up early and that promise was delivered when they unveiled new and second guitarist H-bomb.
He added a depth and grunt to an already heavy guitar section and looks set to help take Sworf to yet another level in the future.
Vocalist Col engaged the crowd at every opportunity, encouraging the dancers and doing his best to generate a party vibe. They also unveiled their new sponsor, Obsession Ink, giving away a voucher to one lucky audience member, with the promise of more prizes through crowd participation at upcoming gigs. They closed with new single White Wedding, which will be officially launched at the same venue with Salacious, Jobstopper, Hungry Lungs and Chronic Haze on May 22. (keep reading NQ Music Press for an in depth interview with Sworf in the coming weeks)
After a quick changeover, another local support band which had everyone in anticipation, Schnexpean, took to the stage. It might be almost ten years since their last gig together but it seemed like time had stood still for the boys with them delivering a tight, entertaining set, punctuated by a couple of covers including a blistering version of Stinkfist by Tool to close off. The chemistry and musicianship were plainly evident, and it didn’t take long before they won over new fans and also appeased the older ones who were wondering if old father time would have overtaken their music. The songs, even though they were ten years old, sounded fresh and relevant and the enthusiasm pouring from the stage was infectious. Judging from the crowd reaction and the smiles on the band members faces, this wasn’t just a one off gig so let’s hope the boys find the impetus to keep writing and recording. Schnexpean, welcome back. The Cairns music scene missed you!!!
Touring on the back of new album, Raise the People, Calling All Cars took to the stage amid great anticipation. You could tell the crowd were a little unsure because of the well publicized different musical direction the band had undertaken with the new album, but it didn’t take long before they dispelled any concerns over the new songs’ effectiveness with numbers on the dance floor swelling considerably from the outset. For a three piece the band packs a heavy punch on stage, and the newer material came across with a rockier edge than the polished versions that appear on the CD. They played the majority of songs from the new album, with the band taking every opportunity to reassure their fans that the new music was just as Calling All Cars as their older stuff. Reptile was the standout track for mine, but the band equipped themselves well through the whole set with sing – alongs and crowd banter adding a more personal touch to the night. The Jack is a great venue for live music, with the stage being clearly seen from most vantage spots and the closeness of the dance floor to the stage providing a unique opportunity for fans to feel part of the show. Fittingly, when the band offered the crowd on stage with them for set closer Dancing in the Streets, the punters leapt at the opportunity with the stage packed to breaking point with eager fans wanting to share their night with the band.
The band are heading to the U.K at the completion of this tour and based on their performance here they could well be the next Australian artist to crack the European market.
Photo by Todd Macalpine