words: Megan Henderson // photos: Sarah Rix (@sarahrix)
'...Kingswood proves to be one of the best in the game at consistently producing genre-bending work.'
Upon entering The Corner Hotel - a venue I've come to know and love very well through live music - I notice that everything looks as it usually does, with the exception of a giant, fluorescent purple 'K' positioned on the side platform.
If there's one way to make a statement at your final show of a near sold out Australian tour, this is definitely it.
Kicking off the night is fresh faced multi-instrumentalist, William Bloom, who shows off his knack for juggling instruments by playing his guitar, kick drum and harmonica simultaneously. Not to mention the most impressive instrument of all that sits next to him; his didgeridoo (which is respectfully introduced following a recognition of the traditional owners of our land). Treating us to a handful of originals, as well as a cover of MGMT's 'Electric Feel' and Men At Work's 'Down Under', William's blend of instrumental sounds is an authentic and refreshing warm up for the Kingswood crowd.
Following William Bloom is Triple J rising star: MANE, who has accompanied Kingswood during their entire tour. MANE's stage presence immediately reminds me of Lorde, with her quirky and sporadic movements and endless energy, as she leaves no portion of the stage untouched. The sound of MANE's voice, paired with a bass so loud I can feel my clothes vibrating on my body, is effective in its delivery. It's a strong and well-developed performance that gives me the confidence she'll be playing her own sold out shows in no time.
Whilst waiting for our headliners, the crowd is treated to a well-curated playlist of old school hits that finish just before the red stage curtain opens to a smoky, purple lit stage that remains unoccupied while 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!' by ABBA soundtracks the anticipation we’re all suddenly feeling. The song finishes and the crowd begins chanting for the band. We’re not kept waiting long before the five-piece graces the stage and jumps straight into early 2014 favourite, 'Micro Wars'. By opening with an absolute corker of a track, Kingswood makes it just too easy to transition straight into yet another corker: 'ICFTYDLM'.
Stopping to take a breath, we get to have a quick chat with lead guitarist, Alex Laska, about how stressful it can be trying to coordinate your hair washing with your weekly schedule - an issue that I personally feel very deeply about. And with his very impressive head of hair, I can absolutely empathise with his hair-washing saga.
Hair washing aside, tracks from earlier albums Microscopic Wars and After Hours, Close To Dawn make up most of the set list, with a few sneaky new tracks gifted to the audience to give us a taste of what contemporary Kingswood has been cooking up. Going by what we’re shown, we can expect the next album to maintain a classic rock style flavoured with hints of pop and alternative.
As the nights progresses I’m reminded why Kingswood floats my boat; lead vocalist Fergus Linacre’s harmonies with the rest of the band’s vocals sounds simply incredible in their live show. I was genuinely in awe of the strength and range in all of the vocals in the performance, particularly in tracks like 'Micro Wars' and 'Golden'. Another reason Kingswood floats mine and many others' boats is the way they so excellently pay homage to the old school instrumental both in their live show and recordings.
There’s plenty of crowd interaction, and even an attempted guest vocalist feature from a random member of the audience during 'Ohio' as Fergus offered to share the mic, which probably would have turned out a lot better if said audience member was more prepared. Either way, Fergus seemed to be having a ball getting up close and personal and singing among the crowd.
Sliding from old school hard rock, to acoustic, to alternative rock, Kingswood proves to be one of the best in the game at consistently producing genre-bending work. After this show, I genuinely can’t wait to hear the next album in its completion, and before you ask: yes, they did play their cover of 'Say My Name', and it was just as saucy as you’d expect it to be.