Monday, January 21, 2008

Practice Gig Review for FasterLouder

The Basement

The Basement was in sync with the rest of Canberra for early-January. An expanse of emptiness with a few bright spots of activity that gave hope to those in search of music, entertainment, and some sort of fun life amidst the post-apocalyptic movie set that Canberra becomes from the end of December to late-January.

For those who have never been to the Basement. A few orange couches grow out of the carpet in front of the stage, there are bashed wooden tables and plastic chairs scattered to the left of the stage – do not sit there if you want to see the band. Stools and bright pool tables are towards the back of the venue next to the bar, the lighting is bright enough to allow ease of navigation but dark enough to give the place a comfortable feel. The stage is high and deep enough to give you a good view of the band, but still keeps the band within comfortable contact with the crowd.

On this night little knots of people filled up some of these furnished areas, and provided some hope for the night. Gathered on two orange couches in the middle of the room the headline act, the Resignators, had taken up residence and provided needed energy to the room, around the edges of the venue small numbers of friends, partners and committed fans promised a friendly, familiar and maybe intimate night ahead, and on stage the sound check promised a night with more rock and roll loudness than the twenty to thirty people in the room would ever need.

The Australian Kingswood Factory took to the stage amidst the empty expanse of the Basement and proceeded to rock and roll. And they did not hold back. While not a polished gig, the delivery by girlfriends and barmen to the stage of a solid amount of alcohol probably detrimental to this, the Australian Kingswood Factory still delivered a combination of Rock and Roll, Rockabilly and one gunfight song that earned them applause and was enough to make three people who had not seen them before want to see them again. Maybe energized by playing for the next band, the Resignators, and with a level of self-gratification that an empty venue allowed, the group launched themselves onto tables, impersonated classic rock and roll moves on the carpet, stage and tables, and still kept the rock and roll flowing. The highlight was the mentioned tale of bank-robbery, shoot-outs and death done to a rock and roll tune with a western flavour, this stood out amidst some quality Aussie Pub Rock and Roll and Rockabilly.

The Resignators though put on the engaging show of the evening. With the assistance of Australian Kingswood Factory members dragging the crowd up to dance, and making sure they did not run off, The Resignators quickly adapted to the crowd that they had, discarding their set list they took the crowd and their new drummer through the old and new of their material. Engaging with ska, punk, touches of reggae and some old rock and roll, the only let up was for more alcohol from the bar, the group kept giving the crowd songs that they could dance to and enough dialogue that we felt that despite the movement away from the polished gig the crowd was actually getting something special. One of the interesting things about The Resignators was that each member had stage presence, as the group moved through their material everyone on stage had a chance to give something to the small crowd.

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