Dirt Playground

Jive, 16 January 2015

photo (2)A headline gig at one of Adelaide’s prime live music venues proved to be a fitting way for local rockers Dirt Playground to showcase their considerable talents, with a powerful performance last Friday.

The first of the support acts, The Realm Of, presented a starkly unique show that might best be described as avant-garde rock meets performance poetry. Highly theatrical, with masks, props and audience interaction, they were certainly effective in warming up the audience. And as brutal as they sometimes sounded, it was all presented with a fair degree of humour, which got the end-of-week punters in the mood for a night of loud and brash rock’n’roll.

Lost Cosmonaut
Lost Cosmonaut

Lost Cosmonaut, the second act for the evening, seem to have already earned a strong following in their own right, with the crowd beginning to fill up as they started. A very capable group of musicians who blend the experimental style of The Mars Volta with the rock song sensibilities of Foo Fighters and early Kings of Leon, they were consistently tight, despite their brand of free form rock. It was an impressive set; at times, however, the vocal sound did struggle to punch through amidst the powerful interplay of drums, bass and guitar overdrive.

Dirt Playground clearly enjoyed the opportunity to headline, putting on a commanding and entertaining show that simultaneously felt polished and spontaneous. Starting in traditional style, with Greek music and instrumentation, the performance quickly morphed into visceral prog rock with the entrance of charismatic vocalist, Paraskevi.

It is a pleasure to watch musicians who clearly live the material they deliver, and in this band all members give high energy, expressive performances.

Paraskevi was particularly dynamic, jumping into the audience on several occasions, at some points writhing on the floor as she sang; she is a bona fide rock’n’roll shop-stopper. Bassist, Shivon, and guitarist, Johnny, were similarly animated, also moving into the crowd for the final song; and both continued to play as they were lifted up on shoulders. The backbone of the performance was supplied by the tight and energetic rhythms of percussionist, Nectarios, and fill in drummer, Paul Lee (stepping so seamlessly into the outfit, that had he not been specifically thanked, there would have been no indication this was not his regular gig).

Enhancing the audience experience further, the band played to a backdrop of some great visuals on projection. It was a consistently engaging performance, drawing the listener in to the point that the end almost came as a surprise, leaving us wanting more.

A highly skilled group of musicians who present the unique sound of rock tinged with traditional music elements, this band is definitely worth catching. Displaying a commitment to all aspects of performance, the Dirt Playground show is what live music should be: an experience.

Reviewed by Matthew Trainor