Time Off


Author: Kate Sweeney

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre: 13.05.06

There is a definite rock’n’roll vibe in the air at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight – and not just on stage, either. A steady stream of all-ages punters – showing definite signs of a recent raid on their older siblings’ punk accessories collections – are gradually filling the Great Hall in anticipation of the first support act, Melbourne’s Kisschasy.

Sporting a very striking head of hot pink hair, vocalist Darren Cordeaux dives headfirst into a set dedicated entirely to rock. From ‘Face Without A Name’ to ‘United Paper People’, there is hardly a moment for the enthusiastic mosh pit to catch their breath. By the time they have reached their last track – crowd favourite ‘Do-Do’s and Whoa-Oh’s’ – Cordeaux is so overtaken by it all that he launches his guitar across the stage and leaps forward into the mosh pit. His pink head bobbing above the crowd is a sight to behold.

For many other bands this would have been a hard act to follow, but Perth band Gyroscope take it all in their stride and maintain the momentum. From their opener ‘Doctor Doctor’ onwards, the crowd is completely absorbed, and ‘Beware Wolf’, ‘Take This For Granted’ and ‘Dream Vs. Scream’ are set highlights. When they remind the crowd that the main act is still to come, it probably comes as a shock to the die-hard Living End fans to realize they need that reminder – such is the caliber of performance that Gyroscope have provided.

But when The Living End arrive on stage, enveloped in atmospheric lights and sounds, the mood in the hall reaches a new high. The stage is transformed into a theatre for a production that takes all elements of showmanship into account. After a surprisingly early appearance of current radio hit ‘What’s On Your Radio’ as their stunning opener, the threesome wind their way through an impressive back-catalogue of punkabilly anthems. From ‘Who’s Gonna Save Us?’, to ‘All Torn Down’, to ‘Uncle Harry’, there is not a solitary tune that doesn’t make every face light up with recognition.

With a guest horn section provided by members of Hunters & Collectors, the show is an instrumental delight also – and during ‘We Want More’ there is a revelatory moment: you haven’t seen a rock gig until you’ve seen Scott Owen standing on the side of his double bass while playing it like an absolute madman. This is musical mastery.

The standout moment, predictably, is the performance of ‘Prisoner of Society’ – but there are so many standout moments that it is an injustice to focus on any one. This truly is a show to tell the grandchildren about one day – rock’n’roll for the new millennium. Smart rock, with a punk heart.