Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.
When German long-haired fuzz rockers Kadavar last toured Australia, it was in 2013 as part of what turned into being a massive double header with Sweden’s Blues Pills. The buzz for both bands even before they hit was already huge and then as soon as they left, Australia was already eagerly awaiting their return. In Melbourne we were lucky enough to see them perform four shows over as many days and people are still talking about. Fast forward to 2016 and Australia is once again blessed to see Kadavar on our shores.
Cross Town Traffic wasn’t playing on the car stereo on Saturday night but was in my head as I stumbled haphazardly through side streets trying to evade capture on the main roads in an unexpected Saturday evening gridlock. Although it didn’t swallow me whole, it did unfortunately mean that I missed seeing Elbrus opening up the night at The Corner Hotel.
As I finally rushed through the band room doors I was suddenly swept back by the sheer wall of atmospherics and beauty. If shoegaze were a part of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and made love to ‘60s psych 9 months prior, then the stage was delivering unto us Mt. Mountain; a cosmic blend of each of its parts soaring throughout the room with intertwining highs and swooping lows. They create such sweet laid back grooves with Steve Bailey’s ethereal vocals sitting behind his Yamaha keyboard, and the way those lower notes danced with Brendan Shanley’s bass, they complimented each other perfectly. At times throughout their set they reminded me of many predecessors from decades past, like Hawkwind, Pink Floyd and even when listening back to the CD on the way home, The Doors, not so much in the Lizard King way but how at times the guitars picked their way gently across their acid drenched backdrop. They take elements from bands like these and also peel back the layers that built them to create even more of their own. We have such an amazing abundance of solid psych / fuzz and associated bands at the moment in Australia but Mt. Mountain’s set really stood out as one of the best we currently have to offer. Easily up there as one of the greatest live sets of the year.
Speaking of talented bands, Melbourne’s Child were up next. I have seen this band a ridiculous number of times, and they’re a local favourite throughout the scene, yet they continually surprise me with how much better they’re getting with time. I know these guys work extremely hard at honing their craft and believe that practice makes perfect. With some bands this can translate to sounding too unnatural and forced on stage, for Child it’s definitely the opposite, and Saturday night the moons certainly stayed in alignment for their set as well. Possibly one of the best I’ve heard from the band and praise also needs to go to the venue set up and Dav Byrne who was in the control seat at the sound desk. Matthias Northway always stands out and was again breaking hearts and wounding souls with the depth of his emotion through his guitar and vocal delivery. We got a solid set of newer tracks from their forthcoming and much anticipated new album due out around October, as well as one of their old one’s which is a stand-out favourite, ‘Mean Square’. A perfect set from one of Melbourne’s continually rising bands.
I spoke with a few people about how a stage with curtains adds another level of excitement to a set about to start. They were closed as Kadavar set up. The cackle of what sounded to be William Burroughs spoke to us as the crowd chatted excitedly. The red curtains were drawn as Kadavar took the stage to glasses raised and a sea of “FUCK YEAH”s. There was no mucking round; it was straight into the upbeat and uplifting fuzzy goodness of ‘Lord Of The Sky’ from 2015’s Berlin. It’s evident from the outset there are loads of long-time fans of the band in the crowd, shouting along to the lyrics with massive smiles on their faces. And that’s the sort of band Kadavar are. There are loads of Sabbath-esque riffs and Zeppelin grooves throughout and it doesn’t matter what song they’re playing, the room is always overflowing with excitement and energy.
When singer / guitarist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann announced that ‘Doomsday Machine’ was up next, it easily got one of the loudest cheers of the set. A favourite track from 2013’s Abra Kadavar album, full of some of their catchiest hooks and early Ozzy sounding vocals, the track just gets straight into your soul and your body can’t stop rockin along. The riffs are instantly addictive and over the top of Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt’s drumming, it’s one massive smile from one side of stage to the other. Tiger’s drumming is so smooth, so much character and style as he throws his right arm out to each side in time, fluid in motion with faultless drums fills that effortlessly swing our bodies from chorus to verse, like in the head banging riffs of ‘Last Living Dinosaur’; a classic example of Kadavar at their best.
They finished the first part of set with the cosmic ‘Purple Sage’, love the bass lines from Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup so much in this track as they roll along and get drenched in spacey freaked out goodness.
They left the stage to instant repetitive screams of “ONE MORE”. Photographer Stephen Boxshall smiled and replied to that “TWO MORE!” Kadavar must’ve heard and decided to one up him with three. Perfect.
Regretfully I missed Elbrus but all up it was an incredible line-up that punters will talk about for years to come. Thanx Kadavar, Child, Mt. Mountain and Life Is Noise for one motherfuckin kick arse night at The Corner!
KADAVAR Set List:
Lord Of The Sky
Pale Blue Eyes
The Old Man
Last Living Dinosaur
Living In Your Head
Thousand Miles Away From Home
All Our Thoughts
Come Back Life