Saturday night saw Injured Ninja present their multi-percussive ensemble The Epic of Gilgamesh as part of Perth Festival’s Nights at The Rechabite series.
The opening act was Revenant, a solo-project from Perth multi-instrumentalist Julian Nichols. Resplendent in a Victorian styled purple-velvet coat, Nichols took to the night’s centre-stage, a two-metre raised circle that stood amongst the audience, to perform an instrumental piece on his electric violin. Using his multi-effects pedal, Nichols enhanced his violin’s sound with varying levels of distortion, which assisted him in creating an auditory palette of melancholic beauty.
R+ Rated, a Rammstein tribute band, followed next on the main stage. The group’s technical mastery and confident stage-presence belied the fact that this was their first-ever live performance, as they provided faithful renditions of such Rammstein classics as Du Hast and Sonne. The closer, Mein Tell, was a real highlight, with its addition of the shlock-horror of the lead singer capturing the keyboardist and attacking her with a bloodied, cardboard knife before disposing of her remains met by by cheers and whistles from the audience.
Spoken-word performer Splodge was the focal point of Doublethink Prism. Performing the group’s recent single, Pavlova, Splodge was literally joined by a pavlova on-stage, which he decimated towards the song’s conclusion. Thought-provoking and irreverent, the audience was literally given food for thought.
Ohm Rune was loud and rocking, which was well-received by the increasing audience keen to groove and headbang their way to oblivion. The bass and drum-duo filled the venue with their unique take on stoner-rock. Vocalist and bassist Alex expertly handled both rhythm and lead sections of the group’s tunes, offering up some of the finest guitar solos on a bass you’re likely to see, while drummer Justin kept everything in check and emphasised the stoner-groove of the duo’s doom-metal sound.
Ignis Jakeus Pyro’s daring pyrotechnics hit the room just as the crowd had swelled to its max in anticipation of the imminent arrival of Gilgamesh on scene. It was a perfect initiation ritual to usher in the event’s headline act.
Injured Ninja were joined by a variety of guests for their performance. The Live Digital Hardcore Drum Orchestra, a collection of drummers and percussionists were stationed to the left, right and rear of the audience, while on the centre-stage, Perth rapper Mathas, acted as both the show’s MC and the tale’s protagonist, interspersing excerpts from the poem and the show’s motif of “long live the king” between musical pieces.
On stage, the Ninja trio were joined by a second drummer and keyboardist which served to expand the industrially-edged post-rock that the group is known for. Guitarist Steven Aaron Hughes pulsated across stage with his guitar raised like a weapon, while drummer Matt Bairstow pummelled and drove the group across the frontiers of their sonic battlefield. Lead vocalist Dominic Pearce’s enthused sing and scream delivery was an equal match for the Epic’s drama. His vocals reverberated and echoed throughout the hall, as if a-top Mount Mashu, the twin-peaked mountain of the poem, with an intensity that underpinned the entire performance.
Both Mathas and the Orchestra gave the performance a solid narrative framework. Mathas set the scene and led the story while the constant drumming propelled the narrative forward. Their proximity to the audience broke down the fourth wall and, as the show progressed, it became increasingly difficult to tell exactly who were the “performers” and who were the audience. This intertwining of performer and audience was most notable when the audience, representing the King’s people, joined in the show’s motif of “fuck the King!” to the King’s call “long live the king,” hastening the demise of the tyrannical monarch.
The costuming was also fundamental to the success of the performance. Performers wore variations of pagan-toned ripped and wearied industrial wear with the occasional black-leather bondage piece thrown in. Atop of these outfits, all of the performers had been caked in mud and grit from head to toe, perfectly setting the tone and mood of the night in what can only be described as Mad Max meets Nine Inch Nails at Woodstock ‘94.
The night was then brought to a close by DJs Trebt & Vetch, who serenaded the dispersing crowd with their hard-hitting industrial techno beats from the first-floor balcony.
Photos by Adrian Thomson