I had the chance to check out Holy Land, a showcase of some psychedelic rock at one of my favourite venues, the Gov. It was shaping up to be a long afternoon and evening, with no less than thirteen acts on the bill, including one international act, Elephant Hive from Israel and Melbourne rockers The Ugly Kings.

In the week leading up, I’d scoured the interwebs for some of the material to get into the groove, and liked what I heard. I was particularly looking forward to locals Sons of Zoku and Filthy Lucre among the others in the line up.

I arrived early and I a saw a bearded gent walk in with some very strange looking PVC pipes in an odd arrangement on a large board. Following him in I noticed that the organiser, Richi Hansen, had transformed the Gov’s band room, adding a massive complete stage alongside the main one with an impressive array of gear.

First gig was the strange pipe arrangement! The PVC pipes were arrayed on the stage, plugged into to some interesting electronics, and out came a pair of thongs to whack on the pipe openings! We were then treated to an aural spectacle, as the pipe guy blew us away with rich electronic sounds including a very respectable rendition of some of the electronic riffs from Da Hool’s Meet Her at the Love Parade.

He was joined by Buck It, local Adelaide lads who have been busking in Berlin. With just their bass and drums, no vocals, but they squeezed a hell of a lot of music out of them. Following their set was a bit of jamming with the PVC pipe man, who I found out was a fellow busker who you can catch around the mall sometimes.

Howl N Bones treated us to some howling psychedelic guitars and great stage presence. Their guitarist was memorable, looking like Hunter S Thompson in a dress and cavorting around the stage. They describe themselves as “scum funk” and seemed it seemed an apt title. They sounded great and you can catch them at their single launch on 5 May at Ancient World.

Local sassy punk rockers, Bitchspawn hit the stage next. Their diminutive lead singer had a powerful set of lungs, and was channelling Joan Jett as she belted out the lyrics. Slick Arnold followed on entertaining the crowd with some clean guitar riffs and wailing vocals, I could detect some Faith No More or Mars Volta influences in their style.

It was turning into a relentless aural assault, bands were all tooled up, ready to go on the alternate stage, launching into the fray just as the prior act were signing off.

Stepping up next were the Slicker Drips, which started to turn the night on its head. We were treated to a feast of wailing distortion and feedback, as they tortured their guitars and bass to produce the howling sounds of outer space and the abyss. All you Lovecraft fans out there would think they were trying to summon Great Cthulhu himself. Heinous Crimes followed on, hailing from the eastern suburbs of Adelaide, they entertained the crowd with their 90s inspired rock.

Up next was a bit of a treat. Stone Eyes are some young hard rocking guys, having just put out an EP a few days before, they hit stage with some presence and something to prove. Their lead singer has a powerful booming rock voice, think Jim Morrison or even Glenn Danzig, and coupled with some catchy metal riffs they put on a great performance. Definitely keep an eye out for them.

It was heading into the main acts of the evening. Elephant Hive hit the stage and they were LOUD. Just a guitar and drums they were discordant and aggressive putting up a powerful wall of metal noise. No lyrics, I thought I could hear some grunting though! I admit it wasn’t to my taste, but you could tell they were masters of their craft.

Next up were Sons of Zoku, they sounded great. Refreshingly original, they had a great 60s garage twist to their sound. Grungey, jangley riffs with energetic vocals slipping into psychedelia at times. They were definitely a highlight for me. They too have a new EP out for digital download, and are regulars around the local music scene.

Unfortunately, the night ended for me there, being an old fart I had some family matters to attend to, so I had to cut my evening short with three more bands to go. Filthy Lucre, the Ugly Kings and Somnium. I was pretty disappointed, as I had been listening to these guys on the car stereo and was looking forward to checking them out.

It was an epic event, with a thoughtful well put together line up and Richi the organiser had obviously put a lot of work into it. He hinted at other projects in the pipeline, so keep an eye out for what comes up next. It was also a testament to the depth of talent in the Adelaide music scene. All of the bands were were rehearsed, polished, and played original songs (in some cases original instruments!).

Live Review by Jeremy Watkinson