Saturday, 6 October 2007

The John Steel Singers, The Rocketsmiths @ Ric's Bar (5.10.07)

The Rocketsmiths have never really interested me. They just never really seemed like 'my thing'. I'd heard some tracks on 4zzz a year or two ago (back when they were called The John Citizens) and hadn't really thought much of them. I'd resigned them to being one of those bands that existed outside my sphere of music. However, when it was announced that they were going to be playing with The John Steel Singers at Ric's, on a Friday night, for free, I decided that I might as well check them out. In the time that had passed since I had handed down my initial judgement on them they'd become one of the better known Brisbane bands, so I figured I should give them another chance.

I'm somewhat glad that I did. While I don't think I'd go so far as to say that they are, in fact, 'my thing', they're definitely not 'not my thing' either. If I were to sum them up with a quick one-liner, I'd say that they were Brisbane's ultimate bar-band. They're like The Hold Steady but with more of a rootsy feel and less poetic pretensions. They're energetic, with a big sound that's perfect for drinking to (I guess...). There's shades of country, rockabilly and plain old classic rock in their sound, with bar-room piano and rock'n'roll guitar solos a-plenty. Lead singer Dom works the crowd like someone who is used to playing venues much larger than Ric's, while the rest of the band supports him with some pretty tight playing. Ultimately, while they're probably not a band that I'd actively seek out, if they were added to a bill that I was 50/50 on, they'd most likely influence my decision towards going rather than the opposite.

The John Steel Singers. I've already reviewed them twice since we started this blog, so there's not really much point doing a hugely detailed review of them here again (additionally so when considering that there will probably be reviews of this show in next week's street press). So, to quickly sum things up, I thought that this was perhaps the best show of theirs that I'd seen (with the possible exception of their EP launch at The Troubadour). They're getting much more energetic on stage while actually increasing their tightness, which I guess comes down to how often they're playing these days. There are no doubts that they're a well rehearsed band, but thankfully they're turning into a well rehearsed band that hasn't wrung all energy and spontaneity out of their performance, which is something I was admittedly somewhat concerned about. I guess that I needn't have worried. It's also reassuring that a lot of their best songs are the ones that weren't on their EP (eg: the popular set closer, 'Poor Rich').


Anonymous said...

fuck yeah!

Anonymous said...

JSS have always left me a little underwhelmed. It's like they don't enjoy it enough themselves or something.

Cam said...

yeah, i've definitely felt that way when i've seen them sometimes. i think they're improving in that respect though. the ep launch was very energetic, and this show was probably about equal to that show in that respect.

i find that seeing them at ric's helps. the size of the space kind of exaggerates the energy coming from the stage.

Anonymous said...

they need a firework up their ass and then they might fire the fuck up a bit