Fat Controller is the venue for tonight’s entertainment Adelaide locals Japam kicked us off with some solid bouncy riffage pumping off stage. The five-piece produced a solid sound and got a warm reception from the slowly building crowd in the dimly lit basement venue. With a sound that is a crossover of metal, punk and prog they pump their way through their set with an energetic and slightly angry sound and they had plenty of heads bobbing as they built up the atmosphere.
Some of their songs are intricate, which can be sometimes hard to pull off live and this was demonstrated when they pull it back 30 seconds into song ROAK. When singer vocalist Ryan Lucivero decided he wanted the audience to experience only the best they have to offer, and restarted after telling us we deserve a better effort to get guitars in sync through the quite technical number. Drummer Ben Whitehorn flogged his kit giving us an unrelenting backdrop for the chunky riffs being produced. My first Japam experience and I’m looking forward to catching these local lads again.
Next up Glass Tides and the progressive punk rock riffs just keep coming, a little bit lighter in sound than the openers, they seemed to play a quite short set but still bounced around stage enjoying the limelight as they ploughed through there tunes. Another local outfit that has embraced what I think is a very oz prog sound. They bought some great heavy guitars while a cleaner vocal cuts through the wall of noise blasting from the guitars of Paul Bakker and Jack Chalmers while Oscar Lang (bass) and Gorge Soloman (drums) kept the rhythm hard, fast and energetic. Surprise of the set was a cover of Break Me Shake Me (Savage Garden) that was given a good extra bit of pepper and went down well with the solid crowd forming front and centre. They were well received by the crowd and after their short sharp set they gave way to the nights’ main attraction.
Dead Letter Circus has been one of Oz’s hardest working prog bands over the last decade and a half, with a sound that is unmistakable when vocalist Kim Benzie grabs the mic and tunes in to his signature style. Spawned around the early days of oz prog pioneers Karnivool, I remember hearing them interviewed over a decade ago saying how humbled they were when one their legendary forebears phone had a DLC song as his ring tone.
Their frenetic guitars and punishing drums give you no time to rest as the stage explodes with a dynamic set of belters that they have produced throughout their career. Through line-up changes and short and long hiatus’ the band keeps producing a sound that smacks you in the face while Benzie’s clean vocal add a beauty that is (I would say) unique to the genre., no growling no screaming required he calmly takes the audience somewhere completely different to most in the prog scene.
Stewart Hill and his undeniable enthusiasm on bass brings a relentless backbone to their signature sound as he cranks through the set with his wild looking mane and beard, while Luke Williams on drums hammers away, abusing his kit to get a brutality into the mix that you just can’t help but embrace. They perform an epic list of old and new DLC classics from playing the first song that wrote through a well-worn list that has featured heavily in the Oz music scene since the mid 2000’s One Step, Lodestar, While You Wait, Space On The Wall, The Armour You Own, Cage… I could just keep going (seventeen classic tracks on the night) and it seems that’s what they will keep on doing, with Benzie exclaiming he realised after their recent break that he wants to do this till nobody wants to turn (I predict that’s a long way away).
The crowd was loving the sheer power and the subtle moments that DLC have honed into a career that just keeps rolling on! A bouncy night of prog rock that was engaging and smacked you right I the face with a cacophony of riffs and drumbeats that you can’t help but jump up and down too. Probably tenth time I have been able to experience these Brissy lads plying their trade and it won’t be the last, always fun, always ballistic, another cracking show from one of Australia’s longest serving prog rock aficionados! Loved it!
Live Review By Peter Young