11-Oct-2012 HiFi Bar, Moore Park (Sydney)
October 5, 2012
Supports: Death Valley, The WorkingHorse Irons
Reviewed by Christine Caruana
Pix by Travis Ecclestone
I would like to preface this review with a simple note to Nekromantix: Sydney audiences are not usually so dull or bad at call and response. It may seem like an excuse but it all came down to the bad sound mix.
I got to the HiFi just on time for the doors to open, but there was no line. It was refreshing to get right in there and stake out a good spot on the floor. After the gig, I suspect there is no such thing as a good spot at the HiFi.
Death Valley were up first, and those who got there early were treated to a great set of homegrown psychobilly. These three guys from Sydney put on a great show, despite regular drummer Dan being unable to attend due to a severe case of the shingles. They managed to get a replacement – forgive me, I can’t remember his name – and he did an awesome job. After a previous experience at the HiFi with the sound, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this gig, but the mix was pretty decent so my hopes were raised for the rest of the show. Although they were first up, and played only to a handful of people, Death Valley put everything they had into the set and really engaged the crowd. They’ll be playing at the Bald Faced Stag soon along with the other support act The WorkingHorse Irons, and if know what’s good for you, you’ll head on over.
My hopes for a balanced mix for the whole night started to diminish when The WorkingHorse Irons took the stage. These four guys from Melbourne continued the fun of this psychobilly filled night. Vocalist and double bass player Joe was one of the most entertaining guys I’ve seen in a long time. He took his bass around the stage, clearly having fun with the other members and playfully thanking the audience, while also telling us to fuck off! As the mix started to weaken, the vocals suffered as they got lost among the instruments, but that didn’t stop them from truly rocking it full of the groove of rock- and psychobilly with the energy of punk.
The two support acts did a great job of warming up the audience, but there was just something off about this whole night. As the curtains closed while the stage was set for Nekromantix, the usual excitement that grows for the headlining act just wasn’t there. Despite this, the crowd still roared when Nekromantix were up. Sadly, that was the end of that. For some reason this Sydney audience, usually so rowdy, just fell flat.
As soon as Nekromantix played their first song all hope of a balanced sound mix was lost. Throughout the set Nekroman’s vocals were pretty much unheard and Franc’s backing vocals were non-existent. Lux’s drums didn’t suffer too badly. The first time Nekroman attempted to goad the audience to continue the lyric, it failed miserably and I can only put it down to the fact that we couldn’t even hear what he was singing. Clearly frustrated, Nekroman tried to liven up the crowd by proclaiming that Perth did a better job. Usually this would entice a Sydney crowd to scream about how much better they are, but once again no one could hear him properly, so it was answered with just a few people yelling “Fuck off, we’re better.”
This went on for the whole show. As the crowd failed to liven up, Nekroman was clearly confused and exasperated, simply stating “Come on Sydney, it’s not that hard!” The band were suffering from the bad sound as well, with Nekroman was constantly signalling to be turned up. It didn’t appear to make a difference. The only songs I could decipher from the set were “Subcultural Girl” and “Who Killed The Cheerleader?”
Nekroman and Franc took a break for Lux to perform a killer drum solo, probably hoping when they got back things would be better. They weren’t. One dissatisfied punter got past the barrier to plead with the band as Nekroman looked on confused. There was no encore, but, really can you blame them? I’m not sure what happened tonight. Everything was just off.
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