FRIDAY NIGHT ROCK AT THE CRANKA – Live Review

The Crown and Anchor is one of Adelaide’s favourite venues for live music, and partying with people who love live music. On Friday night, these two elements combined perfectly when Mere Machine, Ben Gel and the Boneyard Saints and Surviving Sharks took to the stage.

Ben Gel and the Boneyard Saints onstage at the Crown and Anchor
Ben Gel and the Boneyard Saints onstage at the Crown and Anchor

Ben Gel and the Boneyard Saints opened the gig, showcasing their thrashy, punk, riff driven music. It was the ideal way to kick off a night of loud, live rock and drew people away from their perches at the bar to check out BGBS’s self described volatile fist-raising anthems.

Lively and energetic with face melting melodies, this one year old band are worth keeping tabs on.

Surviving Sharks doing what they do best.
Surviving Sharks doing what they do best.

Next up was Surviving Sharks whose collective experience and obvious musical chemistry shone through their belting grunge rock. Always a favourite in the SA live music scene, the guys showed why they’ve earned a place in the hearts and on the stages of Adelaide music fans.

You can always expect consistent quality from a Surviving Sharks set because the guys are thoroughly rehearsed, know their stuff and never disappoint.

Finally, headlining act Mere Machine burst on to the stage. Tia Virago’s booming, soulful vocals were a perfect match to the wailing guitar solos, sexy base lines and rocking drum fills from the rest of the Machine.

Mere Machine ignite the Cranka stage.
Mere Machine ignite the Cranka stage.

Reminiscent of a bygone era where melody and harmony were accompanied by massive instrumentation and celebrated by soaring vocals, Mere Machine take us back to the good old days.

As if to prove this point, they rocked a version of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” complete with backing harmonies from everyone’s favourite sound technician Matt Hills on the desk.

Tia is a natural on the stage, exuding warmth and personality through her friendly banter with the audience, then morphing into a goddess of rock once she began to sing. And those vocals? Wow. She’s like Ann Wilson from Heart with the grounded stage presence of her hero, Springsteen.

This was a great night and an excellent way to kick off a new year. If Friday night’s gig is anything to go by, 2015 should be pretty rockin’.

By Libby Parker

Photos courtesy of Andy Cienciala (of Imogen Brave fame)

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