Words El Jefe.
Photos Rod Hunt – Rod Hunt Photography.
It was a wet and windy Sunday evening, but the prospect of seeing The Datsuns, Front End Loader and newcomers (well, sort of new) Los Hombres Del Diablo playing on the one bill was more than enough incentive to get me the fuck outta the house.
Los Hombres Del Diablo kicked off the proceedings with their heavy-duty stoner rock and roll. This band is rnr’s reply to the asteroid that’s hurtling through space and pulverising anything in its path. With the twin guitars blasting out some nasty riffs and noise, a filthy bass rumble and the manic, linchpin drumming, they carved out some evil sonic devastation and gave front-woman Michele Madden the perfect backing for her powerful vocals and heavily theatrical stage presence. Opening the show with VOTSA and straight on through Nice Tiger and Destination Motherfucker, they hit us with a set of heavy, heavy stoner songs, lotsa snarly wah, feedback and fuzz. Meanwhile, Madden runs riot, tossing away her mic stand early in the set, and both strutting and slithering around the stage, dry-humping the foldback wedges and generally entertaining us all with her philosophies (Apocalypse Now; never NEVER get off the boat!), abuse and random thanks to our parents for creating us. Los Hombres Del Diablo sound like the bastard spawn of Black Sabbath and a Hammel VB 950DK Car Shredder, but be warned, if the stoner hooks don’t get ya, Madden’s wild stage moves will!
I remember seeing the first Front End Loader shows sometime in ‘92 and always dug the jagged riffs, roaring guitars and gutsy rhythm section, which was capped off with the over the top drumming of Pete Kostic. Having two talented vocalists in the line-up was also an excellent draw card, and set them apart from a lot of other bands from that era. After having not seen Front End Loader live in over a decade, I was more than a bit curious to see what they dished up and they certainly didn’t disappoint me. A technical issue delayed their start but was quickly rectified and then they were off. Ripping through song like Decisions, Decision, Decisions, Standards and Kill Me, they were as energetic as I recall them being, but were also savagely tight and cohesive. Throw in a few off-kilter timing changes and the aforementioned dual vocals and you have a very unique and original r’n’r outfit. There was a brief mid-set pause while they made a short video to send to a fan who had suffered a stroke, and a bit of audience participation thrown in, and then it was back to kicking our heads in with another jolt of bruising rock and roll. A few more of their trademark and relentless songs, including the anthemic Weak As Piss before they closed the set with Motorhead-like All I Wanted Was A Cigarette and made a high-speed getaway, to wait with the rest of us for The Datsuns to launch.
The Datsuns bring their MC5 meets Zep-style stadium rock to us from all four corners of the world. Touring to promote their newest LP, Deep Sleep, The Datsuns wasted no time at all in showing off some of the new tunes. Caught In The Silver and Bad Taste give us the first look at what’s to come. Huge guitar sounds, wrung from that pair of battered Les Paul’s and played with a passion that can only come from a life-long obsession with filthy rock. Dolf de Borst’s wicked basslines, which swing between pounding, gut bucket root notes, to his bouncy, swinging runs and coupled while his melodic vocals and the occasional throat-shredding scream tie the whole sound together.
After a strong opening, they continued to plow through an amazing set, made up of songs from their entire back catalogue. Bullseye, Gold Halo and the moody Axethrower rear their heads early on, with Axethrower going down particularly well with an already rabid audience. The Datsuns have some finely crafted songs, and the interplay between the two guitars just brings them alive. They manage to find time for mid-set instrument switch-up, just to keep it fresh mind you, with Phil claiming the T-Bird for a song, before diving straight back into those classic guitar licks. Emperor’s New Clothes was sounding particularly fine, with some epic guitar playing, and the infinitely catchy chorus.
These dudes are seasoned pros and easily settled into the task at hand. After an hour of killer songs, de Borst casually informed us that due to the time constraints of the venue, they wouldn’t be leaving the stage before we called them back for the encore. We went along with this charade, and faked it, cheering for 15 seconds as they staged the “walk off” before hitting us hard between the eyes with another barrage of potent and awe-inspiring rock songs drawn from a seemingly endless bag of tricks.
MF From Hell, No Words and the completely ball-tearing Gods Are Bored finished the night off, but even after a 90 minute set, The Datsuns manage to leave us wanting more. This wasn’t just another rock show, but more like a religious experience. Talent, swagger and chops, The Datsuns have it in spades.