One would wager that Nick Gaffaney is the type that could rub his stomach and pat his head with the utmost of ease. The man is a world-class multi-tasker, as evidenced while performing with his band, Cairo Knife Fight.
Not only does he provide lead vocals while furiously drumming away, on occasions he reverts to a one-handed style to free up his south paw to play keyboards. If that wasn’t enough, the band’s finale saw Gaffaney set up a loop of floor toms and vocal percussion before prowling his side of the stage and indulging his inner frontman.
It’s traits like these that allow the Christchurch natives to add a little colour to the kind of black (keys) and white (stripes) one normally finds in guitar-and-drums duos. It should be stressed, however, that it doesn’t entirely fall on Gaffaney – his other half, George Pajon, Jr., churns through a versatile blend of soundscapes and shredding; a silent-but-deadly-type figure.
Cairo Knife Fight may be practically uncategorisable in the heavier rock spectrum, but they’re one of the more intriguing and entertaining live prospects one is likely to come across in such a manner.
Hearing Cog’s Anarchy OK before Karnivool arrived on-stage inadvertently managed to perfectly set the scene. While heavy music in Australia was, by no means, in its infancy a decade prior, albums like Cog’s The New Normal and tonight’s own Themata assisted in heavy rock and metal truly coming into its own on a local front – commercially and artistically, as Norman Bates might put it.
The songs that make up Themata are still played with sharp precision and as vociferous an energy as they were upon their initial release. A glance at any of the band’s five members at any given time during the run-through would provide not only a showcase of truly sterling musicianship, but a person overwhelmingly grateful that their work has stood the test of time.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening, however, would come after the album’s completion; when guitarist Drew Goddard introduced a brand-new song. Whether a preview of their next album or a standalone entity, the track was impressive – a tip into more melodic and hook-oriented territory without losing grip of key touchstones.
With one last all-inclusive and all-encompassing sing-along for New Day, an exceptional and worthwhile set drew to a close – an evening that heightened excitability concerning the band’s past, present and future.
Gallery: Karnivool @ The Metro, Sydney 2/05/15 / Photos: Maria Boyadgis