A sell-out crowd beckoned for the return of Shihad tonight at the Rosemount. Having already dominated Fremantle’s Mojo’s the previous night, another round of punters were at the ready for more rock enjoyment this evening and they weren’t to be disappointed. With new album FVEY under their wings on top of an impressive discography dating back over two decades, Shihad have a mainstay of fans that will turn up every time these Kiwis hit town.
Supporting the band for the full national tour were fellow countrymen, Cairo Knife Fight, an odd duo of live and looping drums and a sole guitarist providing solid riffs and a fusion of sound not unlike eastern states duo King of the North. With the crowd filtering in, the pair were supplied with a decent early crowd, relishing the chance to plough through a 40 minute set. The bizarre sight of the drummer standing up to sing whilst a looping drum track supplied the back beat to his offsider’s guitar work was something to be seen to be believed. Half the crowd couldn’t have cared less and thrived on the band’s Sabbath-like trajectory, the other half returned to the bar in the hope a stiff drink or two could lessen the memory.
Also making their west coast debut were the much anticipated Melbourne punk rock outfit, High Tension. Recently nominated for the ARIA Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album for 2014 with their debut Death Beat, the band have a certain niche that combines punk, metal and rock, making for an incredible live experience and one that the punters revelled in. Though new to Perth, the band was confident enough to begin proceedings with a new, as yet untitled track before ploughing into the more widely known ‘Blaze Up’, ‘Positive’ and the punk scorcher, ‘Collingwood’. Karina Utomo was nothing short of immense, often scathing but nonetheless melodic in her delivery. Her performance in this frenetic rock/punk hybrid commands attention throughout and it wasn’t long before the pit took on some of the energy emanating from stage and onto the dance floor. As ‘High Risk, High Rewards’ kicked off with that signature riff, Utomo took to the pit herself and concluded the set from the midst of the already sweaty floor, at one stage singing without missing a beat atop the shoulders of a keen punter. Seriously, if you haven’t witnessed High Tension as yet in the flesh, believe the hype, buy the album, go see them perform. You won’t be disappointed.
With Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ blazing from the Rosemount Hotel’s speakers, Shihad took to the stage with the premises now at capacity, a rarity rather than the norm these days locally. The band appeared refreshed and at the ready and despite the extremely ballsy move of playing their new album FVEY in its entirety, most people in attendance were just glad the band were in town once again, knowing Shihad always deliver. They weren’t wrong.
‘Think You’re so Free’ kicked off the night for the headliners, a bulldozing riff that engulfs the bass with low tones from the accompanying guitar. Jon Toogood was exactly that: too good. Crisp and succinct with every note, it was the album delivered as it was intended, loud and with energy. It was three songs in before Toogood addressed the crowd, expressing delight at the heaving mass in front of him. Converted to the live audience the whole of FVEY is a heavy mass, Kippenberger’s bass growls the whole way soaking up all the amps’ vastness and Phil Knight obliges with some cutting riffs in company with Toogood. The band’s experience across three decades of playing together is clear, none more so than on the more eloquent riffs such as ‘The Great Divide’. The banter between tracks is brief but the pit action is nonstop with the Rosemount seemingly swaying in unison for most of the night. ‘Wasted in the West’ drew a quick quip from Toogood about being appropriately named for the Perth leg, before the band ripped into a stellar rendition of ‘Loves Long Shadow’. Culminating in the final track from FVEY, ‘Cheap As’, Toogood thanked the punters for allowing them the freedom to play a whole album. With the crowd surprisingly singing every word to ‘Cheap As’, the moment wasn’t lost on Toogood who smiled somewhat bemused with the extent of Perth’s enthusiasm.
The audience didn’t have to endure a prolonged exit from the stage as the resounding Shihad chant surrounded North Perth before band members re-entered their domain, declaring “These are some old songs we love playing live”. With the crowd sensing a short onslaught of the old time favourites, the pit again exploded. Sing-a-longs became preamble to pogo dancing and despite the band attracting an eclectic mix of hipsters to out and out metal heads and all in-between, no one seemed to care. ‘Factory’ plundered before the much loved ‘You Again’ garnered a heavier mix and the crowd lapped it up. ‘My Mind’s Sedate’ was almost delivered in punk style, with Toogood taking turns to step up to the barrier leaning into the frenzied crowd.
The only sour note from the night was drummer, Tom Larkin having to stop ‘Comfort Me’ a verse in after witnessing two members of the crowd fighting. Venting his anger direct at the culprit, the show came to a complete stop and silenced the crowd in an instant. Suffice to say, the embarrassed punter couldn’t find a hole quick enough, but without missing another beat, the band simply continued with a quick 1,2,3,4 count in from the beloved drummer. ‘Home Again’ finished the night on a high, again the crowd in unison word for word.
Confident in their crowd, confident in their delivery, confident in their new album, Shihad had again conquered the west.
Burrito (New song – title may change)
Sports (New song – title may change)
Mountain of Dead
Vomit (New song – title may change)
High Risk High Rewards
Are You Safe
Think You’re so Free
The Big Lie
The Living Dead
Song for No One
The Great Divide
Wasted in the West
Loves Long Shadow
My Mind’s Sedate