I was pleased to be back at the Gaelic Theatre again for the latest local act to headline the big room. This time, it’s for one of my favourites – Sydney heroes King Farook, back from the dead and a seventh month break (as well as a heart-stopping temporary break-up) to present the original five piece line up for one night only. We are promised this is the re-start of things to come and it has been billed as the Return of the King…
Keen to check out the supports as always, I found the diminutive Dimity Claire and her band the Bleeding Hearts to be pleasant, yet uninspiring. Clearly, the girl is a fantastic singer and her songwriting and band were interesting (tuba, for the win!) yet lacked a tidy execution. Also suffering from a poor front of house mix, this young act failed to make an impact, though were beloved by friends. I will be keen to see Dimity in a year or so after some more live experience, she evidently has potential. For now, they could stand to learn a thing or two from acts that followed.
Photos by Tynan Curry
The Bakery are always good fun and can be relied upon to deliver a show – with a whopping 11 piece line up, in full costumed regalia, they challenged the stage to contain them. The band had heaps of energy, which was infectious, however this also meant they struggled to focus this into a punchy performance. As their songs and as their set wore on overtime, they ran out of new sounds to give us and instead relied on gimmicks. However, with so much to offer – infectious grooves, amazing musicianship and individually outstanding performers (vocal and rhythm section features were a highlight) they thoroughly entertained the fast-filling house.
As the Bakery exited stage and the trademark set up of King Farook began to be assembled (drums, front of stage) the excitement of the crowd was monstrous. Players on the scene were spotted gathering their drinks and young punters pushed their way to the front. Even a bride-to-be arrived with wedding veil tow, to celebrate her hen’s night in the best way possible.
Finally, the band kept us waiting no longer. With a teasing intro, the mighty King Farook worked their way into one of the highlights from 2007’s album ‘Land of the Horny’: the impassioned PIPEDREAMER. For me, a personal treat to hear my favourite song played first – for others, threatening to drown out the band at times with their enthusiasm, those dancing at the front either knew every word or pulled out all stops on the boogie.
It was clear the band had lost nothing in their time away. In fact, they were better than ever. Moving into between-song segues to keep us on our toes, KF rocked through tracks
Work Your Body and Leave Me Alone and had punters dancing themselves silly from the get-go.
By this time the front of house mix was crystal clear and doing full justice to a band firing on all cylinders. Everyone knew the words of the old single, ‘Back in the Day’ and following this, the band tried out a new tune (why not?), which traded well on the KF sound with a pleasing rap and soulful melody.
Midway into the infamous song of sleaze “Ah – Ha” keys/sax man Jaycee forgoed his keyboard solo in order to rick-roll us! Of course the pleasure of the Rick Astley singalong was well received till the band kicked on to the next section of rhythmic delight.
The old favourite Makeya Dance was another highlight with Schiffy Chipps casually exploiting his position as rap/drummer to monopolise the awesomeness – catching vocal lines with drum hits is a favourite trick of mine and the man’s sense of rhythm is enviable.
Three quarters through the set, the audience were lapping it up and the band showed no signs of slowing down. It was a reflection of the incredible talent and hard work on show. The unsung hero of the back of the stage, Jaycee Corea was on fire, featuring face-melting sax lead breaks and solos. Schiffy’s rapid fire raps and the band’s tight-as harmonies and hype lines were astounding. Noogie (Anuj Nair) was the consummate performer, working the crowd and dazzling all with his Usher-like honeyed voice. Mori Suckau underpinned the whole affair with a delicious bass tone and titillating stage banter.
The return of Brett Hunt to the line-up was not unnoticed either – as his solid as a rock rhythm guitar allowed the rest of the band to shine. This was none more evident than on two tracks from their 4 Piece Feed EP: Lip Sip Suck and Whoa. Though the previous 4 piece line up had always played a wicked show, the band were clearly excited to be playing the tracks with guitar again and absolutely rocked the house on these two – a funky little mosh got going and gosh darn if I didn’t near wet myself with love for this band. It was almost too bad then that they chose this much-loved venue to stage their return – as the pent-up energy of a roaring audience threatened to blow the roof off! (It would have been worth it).
After a short break, the band had no choice but to return with more tunes (the crowd demanded it), ripping through a medley of old favourites like Come On, Music, Rockin Tonight (featuring some tasty bass fills by Mori) and finally, ended their set with ‘Set this Party Right’ and a multitude of climactic flourishes. We couldn’t get enough of it and the band were truly thankful for the support and delight of the crowd.
King Farook wowed a packed audience and left them screaming for more after over 90 minutes of high energy beats. It is one of this reviewer’s dearest hopes to see this band rise to receive the acclaim they deserve on a national and international level. It will take much luck and hard work and whatever transpires with this resurrection of King Farook, they will never be forgotten by their fans. An amazing band and an altogether inspiring evening of live music: thank you Antonio, Anuj, Brett, Jaycee and Mori.