Playing to a close to empty band room at the Crown and Anchor, locals It’s A Hoax commence the proceedings with a competent pop set and do their best under the circumstances of having to play to a practically empty band room at the Crown and Anchor. Singer Kiah Lanagan’s at times stream of consciousness lyrics contrasting her end of set “thank you” which came across like a wayward public service announcement.
The Pro-Tools have a pedigree that has been described as a supergroup with Pete the Stud, formerly of Blood Sucking Freaks, on vocals and guitar, bass by Andy McQueen from the Exploding White Mice, Sean Tilmouth on guitar and Justin McDonald on drums. Following a warm up support gig at the Grace Emily Hotel the night before, they played a short but solid set of precision raucousness that was well received by an audience that had grown considerably. It’s a crowded, sweaty dirty audience but I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know if you have been to a gig at the Crown & Anchor before.
Four albums in, ten years after they formed, Rocket Science just disappeared… but now they are back. This year marks twenty years since their formation and is two years short of that anniversary for their debut album Welcome Aboard the 3C10, the first of four albums released until their relative absence after 2008. They slowly resurfaced in late 2014 after an extended hiatus, playing only limited shows until a national tour last year supporting the Stems, although not playing an Adelaide date until tonight. This is the second show on the current tour to promote the single Lipstick Red just released and with an album to follow. Although they have had time apart to play in other projects, the original line up remains unchanged and includes front man Roman Tucker on vocals and electric organ, Paul Maybury on guitar, Dave Gray on bass, and Kit Warhurst on drums and backing vocals.
The first song is the appropriately titled Back For More after which Roman has a moment to reacquaint himself with some overenthusiastic fans at the front while Dave fiddles with his equipment in order to rectify a technical issue. Through the set Roman takes the opportunity when he’s not hunched over playing his battle scarred electric organ to stand writhing, perched precariously on the front edge of the stage or making one of several excursions into the audience to engage with the fans.
In amongst a fair selection of the more familiar material such as the early single Being Followed, there are some new songs and a tribute to the late Guy Lucas (of the Philisteins) in a cover of the Freeloaders song Something For Nothing. The new single Lipstick Red is the only song on which Roman “conducts” the homemade Theremin atop his organ. Although it looks like a poorly constructed high school project, it sounds great and impresses the audience to the extent that there is a spate of “air Theremin” performed by numerous members of the audience into the break after the song finishes. Kit Warhurst is upgraded to co-vocalist for One Robot, the first a two song encore with another early single Burn In Hell bringing the set to a close. An expectant audience remained in place until a colleague of the band made his way to front to press an effects pedal and cease the high pitched tone which had continued coming from Roman’s onstage set up for a few minutes after the band had left. Considering Rocket Science’s time away, the hour long set seemed like it was over too soon but there is that cliché about leaving them wanting more and the good news is with an album on the way there is more to come.
Review by Jason Leigh