Gig Reviews

Kingswood – Imperial Hotel, Sydney 17/11/16

Following the release of their most recent single, Creepin, Melbourne’s Kingswood is taking on what some have unfathomably described as their Australian “comeback” tour. If recording a sophomore album in Nashville after playing packed stadiums with AC/DC, only to sell out Sydney’s Imperial Hotel is a comeback, then sure: Kingswood is playing their comeback tour.

Openers The Vanns provided unexpected entertainment, given the band’s surf-rock appearance. Instead, what was displayed was a hard-hitting rock performance made up of impeccable vocals (somehow comparable to that of James Bay) and guitar licks to match. Before closing with a yet-to-be-released track, the band covered INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart. Arguably the highlight of their set, singer Jimmy Vann did the Michael Hutchence’s vocals and on-stage swagger justice, and the song’s iconic sax solo was in this case replaced by guitar.

Kingswood graced the stage to a sold-out audience, opening with a new song off their upcoming album, Library Books. This was followed by She’s My Baby, during which Alex Laska performed one of many increasingly captivating guitar solos that would make it clear he is the most dynamic live element of band. It also made you wonder if stories that he broke his finger were ever true, because there was only evidence to the contrary. Laska continually entertained the crowd with on-stage banter, at one point suggesting of a coming track, “Hopefully you can fall in love to it, or at least make out with the person next to you.”

The band played—for the first time in front of a Sydney audience—their latest single, Creepin, which was met with great reception. The fans proved to be already familiar with the song and sang along accordingly. This was followed by Sucker Punch, which received the most riotous crowd reaction of the night.

While singer Fergus Linacre plays more of a passive onstage-role, relative to Laska’s extroversion, it is on songs such as Sucker Punch that his talent is truly showcased. He effortlessly hit the track’s high notes in a way that might remind one of Ozzy Osbourne, if Osbourne was…better. At this point, Laska could be heard demanding that “at least four babies” be made during the playing of ICFTYDLM (I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me) and cans of beer were thrown into the crowd’s open arms.

Kingswood encored with new track Atmosphere, plus Medusa, and, predictably, Ohio. With Linacre’s vocal range, Laska’s axe-skills and stage charisma, and Justin Debrincat’s tight and effective drumming, seeing Kingswood play live is a completely different experience to hearing them recorded. On stage, the band is given room to draw out their solos and insert more of their personalities into their music, taking them from an otherwise generally radio-friendly rock sound, to a performance status more commonly related to actual rock stars.

Kingswood’s national tour finishes up this week. Catch dates and details here.

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