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The Volcanics

The VolcanicsDatura/The Wishers/The New Invincibles

Amplifier

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Volcanics launching a new album was always going to be an important event on the Perth music calendar, so it was a strange feeling entering a very underpopulated venue just as the night was about to kick off. Opening support acts, The New Invincibles and The Wishers, were left performing to just a smattering of punters, augmented by the odd person who looked like they’d gotten lost on their way to or from Oktoberfest.

That was a crying shame because both bands gave it their all, with energetic performances of their respective forms of solid classic garage rock that didn’t so much warm up the gig as start it with an explosive bang that set the perfect tone for the night – loud, dirty and electrifyingly executed. By comparison to long standing Perth rock stalwarts The New Invincibles, The Wishers are a relatively new band in their current form, but a lineup that combines musicians with long and illustrious careers with a contingent of younger members, The Wishers are a perfect storm of experience and youthful vigour.

Lesson number one, Perth punters: don’t wait until the headline act to show up. You may be missing some of the best new music out there.

Perth rock royalty Datura stepped up next, bringing a much heavier vibe that almost seemed like an unlikely but hugely successful combo of Alice Cooper and Springsteen with a touch of psychedelia and the occasional heavy blues riff. They closed their set with an absolute ripper of a track that set the stage beautifully for the main event.

By the time The Volcanics erupted onto the stage in a deluge of feedback and heavy bass, it was clear who most people had come out to see – the venue was heaving and within bars of the first song they had the usually sedate Perth crowd popping Iike corn in a frypan. When you witness a Volcanics gig one thing is very clear: this is a band who know what they’re doing.

Lead singer John Phatouros has the kind of charisma usually reserved for stadium acts, and in a venue as intimate as Amplifier you can’t help but feel like you’re seeing something seminal. Track after track the band impressed with their raw animal energy and flawless delivery, even dishing out a cover of The Easybeats ‘I’ll Make You Happy’ that paid tribute to the roots of the bands influences while owning the song so well they could take Stevie Wright and Co. to school.

Add some special guests in the form of a horn section into the mix, and the audience were treated to a whole new level of sound – an unexpected blend of heavy garage and big band that knocked it out of the park.

If the audience reaction on the night was anything to go by Get A Move On is an album that is going to fly off the shelves and this reviewer, for one, left the venue thoroughly reminded that The Volcanics aren’t just Perth rock at its best – they’re rock at its best, full stop.

_ MACEO POWERS

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