Live review: The Delta Riggs + Stillwater Giants + The Strums – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane – April 11th 2013

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When The Delta Riggs last played Black Bear Lodge at BIGSOUND 2012, snake-hipped frontman Elliott Hammond led the audience in an impromptu sing-a-long of “holy guacamole, we got chips!” before introducing their best-known song as one for “all the cunts out there.” That particular gig had a perfectly loose party atmosphere; all raucous abandon and who-fucking-cares gestures. Tonight’s show – while being just as boisterous and unrestrained – also involves the important business of an album launch; the Melbourne quintet’s debut Hex.Lover.Killer, and Brisbane is the first stop on the tour. Aren’t we a lucky bunch of people?

Local rock ‘n’ rollers The Strums are first up this evening, and the boys warm up the growing crowd’s ears with suitable volume and energy. Frontman Jai Sparks is the focal point as the band get sweaty with a half-hour set of punk-tinged rock, including a breakneck cover of ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks.

Margaret River quartet Stillwater Giants are next onto the stage, and frontman Henry Clarke announces their goal of “getting you loose enough for The Delta Riggs”, as well as explaining “we’ve only been in Brisbane for an hour, and we’ve already nearly got into a fight over a car parking space”. Interstate issues aside, the band play a great set of guitar pop; all surf breaks and sunny melodies. ‘Give In To Me’ is a mid-set highlight, topped only by ‘Under The Radar’, and a fantastic cover of ‘One More Time’ by Daft Punk – a great song choice considering the French electronica giants’ Wee Waa announcement this week.

Elliott Hammond is the first of the ‘Riggs to take to the stage, and takes a seat at the keyboard for opener and new single ‘Better’. “Gonna take it from the start, escape from the city where we wound up again,” he sings before his four band-mates join in and get a show heavy with new songs under way; what a great fucking start. Next is ‘Perfume & Lace’ off Hex.Lover.Killer before ‘Counter Revolution’ from Talupo Mountain Music Vol. II gives the dual guitarists a chance to let rip.

Next comes the first two tracks from the album, ‘Stars’ and ‘America’; by which stage the crowd is getting loose (thanks for the elbow to the jaw, Red Bull girl) and Hammond announces “those of you who have the first EP – we are playing fucking nothing off that thing, I’m telling you now!”

Eighth song of the evening ‘I Was Profound Tomorrow’ brings the pace back down a bit before the three-track finale of “our big hit from the radio” ‘Rah Rah Radio’, ‘Money’, and the instrumental ‘Save It ’til The Morning’. The out-and-out ROCK of the first two is nicely matched with the psych jam riffs of the latter, and the band leave the stage to huge applause.

Of course the lads are hounded back to the stage for the obligatory encore which is overshadowed by Hammond and guitarist Tristan James relating a story about The Preatures drummer’s “total bitch” of an ex-girlfriend who took a communal microwave and locked it in her bedroom. Hammond’s response? Take the TV and put it in the garden. His punishment? Get pushed through a table. Rock and roll…

Hex.Lover.Killer is a top rock ‘n’ roll album and tonight’s launch more than does it justice. Do yourself a favour and go see ’em.

THE DELTA RIGGS ARE TOURING NOW! SEE http://www.thedeltariggs.com/ FOR DETAILS.

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