Earthless, The Annandale Hotel – 14/12/2012

Earthless, hailing from California, evoke free wheelin’ 60’s and 70’s psychedelic space rock – but with a very modern 21st century groove. Imagine what Jimi Hendrix would sound like today with current technology and equipment. But it’s not about kooky meandering hippie jams, these guys know how to thrash and their tight-as-fuck prog rock/heavy metal/punk/power groove is difficult to pigeonhole.

Sydney stoner demon trio Arrowhead were the main support act and they quite adequately tore the roof off the Annandale with their Sabbath meets Soundgarden meets Fu Manchu melodies blasting a few heads off and certainly making quite an impression. It was great wall-of-sound stuff, and very rock n’ roll.

Earthless are here on their second tour, after previously visiting late 2010/early 2011. With their 2 studio albums (with 2 songs each) there wasn’t so much a setlist – it was one long astonishing jam from a highly accomplished group of musicians. Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell has played with the likes of Nebula, so clearly knows his chops. He was on fire – with bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba similarly smoking; it was quite an epic performance. We don’t see much of this in Australia, so it’s a privilege when we do get the opportunity to witness such mastery. Instrumental music largely remains on the fringes of popular music, largely because it demands your full attention. You can’t just tune in and out to this; it’s all about going along for the ride, and having a hell of a lot of fun on the way.

After quite an astounding and often jaw-dropping set, Earthless returned to the stage for a short encore, the snappy Cherry Red – a cover version originally performed by The Goundhogs (Brit rockers who are still in action after forming in the 60s – now that’s an impressive innings). It was a great way to wrap up a set of fucking mind-blowing controlled chaos. I for one won’t be forgetting this gig anytime soon.

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