Kingswood @ Long Jetty Hotel NSW Australia 28/10/2017 written by Brendan Lewis
I feel a Golden night of Aussie rock Creepin’ up! Aussie rockers Kingswood take over the packed-out Long Jetty Hotel as part of their critically acclaimed ‘After Hours, Close To Dawn’ tour! Based on the five-word summary of a Kingswood show lead guitarist Alex Laska gave me when I interviewed him before the show, “better than Beatles and Stones”, plus the lively crowd of patrons enjoying the cheap drink prices (including me, I can’t pass up $5.50 cider’s, I mean I’m only human), this is gonna be a roarin’ show like a you-beaut classic Holden Kingswood! The key’s in the ignition, lets start this baby up!
Fasten your seat-belts because the engine is started with an array of classic hits from Queen, Bruce Springsteen and many more playing on the speakers before the band emerge, getting the drunk passengers in the audience warmed up for the take off. The band skid onto the stage at full speed as a dramatic intro leads into high-velocity blues-rock cruiser ‘Like Your Mother’ with it’s distorted bass and groovin’, cruisin’ vibes that make you feel like you’re in the back of a vintage Holden Kingswood, cruising around in the summer with your windows down and stereo up! This song gets the audience dancing and bopping away, fuelled by the burning energy of the entire band, who are rocking out and moving around the stage, wild lighting effects in varying colours and quick moving pattern plus lead singer Fergus telling us to “put your hands in the air” and prompting a clap-along from us all while Alex on guitar rips it up with a beauty of a solo. Luckily there’s no speed camera’s here tonight, as this ride definitely charged off the mark loud and at high-speed!
Next without a pause, the ride keeps up it’s high-speed power with rockin’ hit ‘Sucker Punch’ followed straight into ‘She’s My Baby’. Just like the sexy roar of a vintage super-car, I do like it loud, however Fergus’s voice is struggling to stand above the roaring bass and guitar. However, with said voice being powerful and accurate plus with the addition of some well-trained and well-executed high notes in ‘She’s My Baby’ even while he rocks out and moves around the stage like a screeching car doing doughnuts in a car-park while the lights dance around him wildly, it makes up for the slight loss in verbal clarity. The intense energy from the band featuring more killer guitar solo’s from Alex makes everyones’ drinks spill as they too try to mimic the bands energy. Too bad this car doesn’t come with drink holders.
Now the ride idols slightly, as Fergus greets us and expresses how good it is to be back here, and he can’t remember how long it’s been, as the crowd yells out whatever comes to mind, before sweeping lights bring on ‘Library Boobs’ …on second thoughts I think they might have mis-spelt ‘Library Books’ on this set list. This is then followed by slower, The Beatles-sounding opening track off the bands touring album ‘Looking For Love’. For ‘Library Boobs-I mean Book’, the sound is great all-round, I mean it’s still not perfect for Fergus’s voice, but I do think the sound mixer has increased the vocals slightly now. The continuation of pumping energy, crazy lighting which is superb for a pub gig and compliments the music perfectly, and just like revving the s*** out of a fully hotted up car makes all the girls swoon…. supposedly, Alex’s roaring guitar solo’s do actually do just that, and get the crowd dancing and rocking out just that little bit harder, and as a result, I now have a strangers drunken sweaty arm around my shoulders as he sways and sings…. gotta love pub gigs! The ride slows down in speed so not to give everyone motion sickness from an over-load of power for ‘Looking For Love’ with it’s feel good vibe, crisp clear sound with Fergus’s voice shining brilliantly as the sounds accompanying him aren’t as loud and abrasive now, and topped off with the addition of the bands friend Rachel adding some smooth female harmonies to the mix. I gotta say though, even though the energy has lessened at the moment, I think it’s really rude of people around me talking while the band plays!
The band hit the accelerator a bit harder for ‘ICFTYDLM’ bringing a funky vibe to the show getting the crowd to sway side to side around me that if I focus on for too long is gonna give me motion-sickness, however I feel I may have spoke too soon when I thought the sound mixer had fixed up the mix a little, as Fergus’s voice is still awesome, but Alex’s stunning guitar solo’s and rifts draw the main focus. This song slams on the accelerator with a big finish with all band members rocking out with bass, guitar and drums going wild bringing the energy back to a red-hot blaze yet again!
With a thunderous cheer from the audience, the next stretch of songs feature ‘So Long’ with the use of organ sounds adding a new turn in this trip, ‘Rebel Bear’? ….another spelling mistake on the set list it seems as it’s actually ‘Rebel Babe’ with its really funky bass lines, ‘Atmosphere’ and single track ‘Golden’. All of these songs feature more stand out guitar solo’s that surprisingly aren’t getting repetitive like some shows and actually leave you hanging out for the next, accurate to the recordings powerful vocals and differing levels of energy here in the audience depending on the sounds dynamics. I gotta mention, during ‘So Long’ Alex adds a classic wah-wah effect to his wicked rifts and solo’s, plus the long-ass collaborative jamming/rocking out from the band at the songs finish is ace and goes down great with us in the audience! It does now seem like the vocal levels have been increased appropriately, as Fergus’s strong ripper voice excels nicely now, plus he engages us all as if connecting with each of us on a personal level, feeding off the drunken shout outs, speaks to us casually between ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Golden’ and revving us up during songs bridges prompting cheers and clap-alongs particularly to the beat of ‘Golden’, keeping us all fixated. The crowds fixation is solidified as Fergus lets us all take over his singing during ‘Golden’ seeing as we were all singing so beautifully already…. apparently.
Racing down the home stretch we have ‘Medusa’ with it’s slithering cool distorted bass lines, an acoustic track ‘Old Crow’ which makes Fergus’s voice shine exquisitely and also includes the surprising addition of some horns (instrument type, not sharp object) , ‘Big Schnitty’….despite that being hilariously appropriate for a pub venue, no, the set list should’ve read ‘Big City’, and finally, (I think I hear Fergus telling us this is the last song which we all know is bull-s*** because even if there’s not a planned encore we’ll cheer them back out anyway), the band demonstrate just how to successfully polish a turd, with a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie rock cover of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’ which riled up the crowd brilliantly, including me and gets us all singing along with Fergus, accompanied by Rachel, as he rocks out and feeds off our energy and sends it right back.
The band don’t even bother going off the stage for what I’m pretty sure is supposed to be the encore, instead the band put the pedal to the metal to the max for classic Kingswood hit ‘Ohlo’, followed by ‘Micro Wars’ and finally, colossal catchy as-f*** desire-driven rock anthem ‘Creepin’. ‘Ohlo’ really pumps the energy to the limits with more signature ripper solo’s from Alex on guitar, great strong sound and now Fergus jumps off the stage, leans into the audience at different sections of the barrier and sings with/to select crowd members. I happen to be one of the lucky fans that Fergus has chosen to sing to/with, as he puts his face and microphone up to my face as I sing like a pro… nah it probably sounds like s*** to be honest… come to think of it ,with my shotty sight, I really hope it was actually his face and microphone that he put up to my own face. And as if that power-surge wasn’t enough for us all, ‘Micro Wars’ and biggest hit featuring a mass of phone lights and sing-alongs, ‘Creepin” speeds us over the finish line in a blaze of glory!
I’m gonna put this summary simply, I really reckon Kingswood are one of the, if not THE best Aussie rock bands of today and their great sounding high energy performance to go with the massive sound just verifies that statement! I definitely urge any rock lovers to check these awesome lads out, you won’t be disappointed!