Photography by Rae Boyd. Find the full set on Flickr here.
For some reason, you simply can’t go wrong at the Annandale Hotel. Every gig is good, the staff are great and it always sounds bloody awesome. Now, add the might of our New Zealand neighbours Shihad to the mix, and you’re left with one of the greatest rock shows of the year.
Does that sound slightly overzealous? Too bad. This was in-your-face hard rock, performed by some of the best in the business. Singer/guitarist Jon Toogood is still one of the skinniest men in rock, on his frequent trips playing atop the bar he was never a chance of doing any damage as he thrashed and screamed his way through a single-heavy setlist. And with Karl Kippenberger (bass), Phil Knight (guitar) and Tom Larkin (drums) all bang on target (and providing backing vocals), they simply did not put a foot wrong.
Shihad came out screaming with first song My Mind’s Sedate, and it set the tone for the entire night – this was rock, underlined, in bold and massive font. Launching into Semi-Normal, they showed why they are one of the three best things to come out of New Zealand in the last twenty years (the other two are the Finn lads, and those little Lord Of The Rings films). The awe-inspiring might of their anthem The General Electric had the crowd going rightly berserk, along with the likes of the heavy metal blast of Day Will Come, Empty Shell and Comfort Me. Meanwhile the slick rock of Just A Shadow somehow turned things up a notch, what bliss this was! One of their biggest singles, Pacifier had one of the biggest crowd responses, with a huge bout of arm waving and sing-along’s.
To close the main set, Shihad pulled out a new song– a rather rocking Sleepeater. Fingers crossed the new album is an improvement on their previous effort, the middle-of-the-road Beautiful Machine. After a short break, the encore featured the melodic power ballad Saddest Song In The World, followed by the suitably galloping hard rock of Run. Wow, what a show – we can only hope they’ll be back soon, once they finish their album. Big Day Out perhaps? Yes please.