Halloween provided a good excuse to gather four local rock acts on the same bill last Friday at the Worldsend on Hindley Street. The night was a showcase of local talent and, with the acts sporting costumes and props to get into the spirit of Old Hallow’s Eve, it was a great deal of fun.
Kicking things off was three piece outfit, Slick Arnold who burst onto the stage wearing Super Mario outfits. Their opening chorus proclaimed “You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need”, reminding us of another band that played a gig in Adelaide very recently. With tight riffs and Living End style harmonies they are a talented group, incorporating elements of funk, disco and alt-rock. It was an enjoyable set delivered at the cracking pace of a drummer who hits hard and loud. Inviting the growing audience forward, their interplay of lively riffs and power choruses was appreciated.
Across the Atlas were next, eclectically costumed as Batman, a werewolf, a horror nurse and a zombie, and appearing in their second ever live performance. There was no hint of inexperience, however, particularly with charismatic singer, Penny Thompson, owning the small stage. She has a powerful voice and an energetic stage presence to match; although the lyrics were occasionally drowned out in the mix by the other instruments. With a good collection of songs the four piece successfully combined the sound of 90s rock and a pop punk vibe. They have started in impressive fashion and will be worth keeping an eye on.
Grunge veterans Surviving Sharks, who had been the driving force behind the event, presented a slick set with good audience interaction. With no dead time between songs and the ability to work a crowd, you can tell these guys have been playing together for a while. They have also built up a fair following, with a very positive response from the crowd that had swelled in numbers by this stage of the night. Their strength is in their tight harmonies, setting them apart from other grunge acts. In a moment of true rock showmanship they ended their set with singer/guitarist Drew Kemp jumping on drummer (and brother), Sean Kemp for the big finish.
Dirt Playground brought the night to a close and, despite starting after midnight, drew a large, enthusiastic audience. They are clearly a very talented group of musicians, playing intricate riffs and scales in a free form, prog rock style that really works in a live setting. Vocalist Paraskevi Kontoleon was dressed as Amy Winehouse, and like the troubled superstar, demonstrated an almighty stage presence in contrast with her slender stature. With a penetrating voice she paced the stage before jumping out into the crowd: one moment delivering her lyrics directly to an audience member, the next writhing around on the floor without missing a lyric. It was a commanding and self-assured display of rock’n’roll bravado, suggesting this act could soon be destined for larger venues. Punters should try to catch the five piece before the venues they play become a little less intimate.
With the live music starting at 9:30 and finishing up almost four hours later the night was great value and provided an opportunity to see a quality display of local talent. It was somewhat a pity that following a 34 degree day the showers set in to cool things down considerably and dampen the night. The partially open courtyard at the Worldsend is not an ideal venue when it rains and this may have kept some people away.
But the turnout was nevertheless solid and those who did brave the cool change were treated to a highly enjoyable old school rock showcase. There should be more nights like this – even without the excuse of a special occasion.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor
Photos by Matthew Trainor