Words Justin Tawil.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.
A seemingly unending sea of flannies and mullets is what consumed The Old Bar on this sweaty Saturday night. The bill was loaded with bands who bust out sweet riffs on the reg and can throw down a shred or two; a fitting line up for Drifter’s ‘Violent At Altitude’ album launch.
The two-piece outfit of Low Fly Incline kicked the night off with some red hot riffs. It was an excellent sight to see the drummer’s extremely excitable self blasting out some monster beats while still keeping it tight. When a band in the opening slot kicks this much ass you know you’re in for a top notch gig.
Second in line was Battle Axe Howlers, a band who could be described as a more grandiose Black Stone Cherry. Their huge riffs and chunky bass set a flame under the asses of everyone at the venue and really got the crowd digging their set. Guitarist Dean Guest was a clear standout above everyone else in the band, purely for the fact that the guy rocked up on stage on crutches then rocked the fuck out on the guitar with some crazy leads despite his ailments; an absolutely legendary effort from the man.
River of Snakes came up third on the bill and – no discredit to Low Fly Incline or Battle Axe Howlers – they blew the previous two bands out of the water. Snakes’ wild and unruly drummer, super steezy bassist and guitarist who is clearly the top dog of the shred game put on a monumental show. Raul Sanchez i Jorge pisses out leads most guitarists spend months figuring out. They were doing everything right and brought to the table a great set of songs, it never felt like they were recycling the same stuff over and over again, and made it look so natural. Definitely made a fan out of me.
Drifter’s set was ultimately the main event, and the crowd were undeniably slain by their brand of catchy and groovy grunge tunes, as evident by the incredibly loose and rowdy moshing they inspired that was only halted by the silence of tuning up between songs. They put on a set full of frantic and dirty songs, fast beats coupled with a big bass sound backing it all up, making it a very memorable set. The song “Devil Digger” specifically convinced me exactly why these guys pulled such a huge crowd that night and filled The Old Bar to capacity. The song has these intense, loud, gargantuan passages with some really tasty solos over the top of it, definitely a highlight of the gig alongside their vivacious cover of Cosmic Psychos legendary track “Pub”. For the most part their fast paced punk / grunge / rock style never let the crowd sit and stew in their own awe of the impressive set they had just witnessed, making this one seriously vicious gig.