EP and Live Review: POW! Negro Prove Why They Are one of the Most Exciting Perth Acts
On a freezing Saturday night, POW! Negro warmed the hearts and bodies of the packed Rosemount Hotel with their intense live set, proving exactly why they are one of the hottest bands out of Perth right now.
But first, let’s talk about their new EP, Jasmine & Licorice. Like many others, this was a release I was eager to hear, being a huge fan of their live set and loving the singles released in the lead-up. And thankfully, I was not at all disappointed.
Jasmine & Licorice manages to capture the energy of their legendary live shows beautifully. Yet, as the band told us they were aiming for, the EP also showcases a different side to POW!. With the production doing wonders to encapsulate the mastery of each member in ways that live settings don’t always allow. As always, the band take cues from seemingly disparate influences and blend them in unique and unexpected ways. For instance, my personal favourite ‘Night Drive’, which begins with a Queens of the Stone Age-esque riff, before seamlessly transitioning into a sultry jam. POW! Negro is a band full of virtuosos, and this EP showcases the dynamic nature of their sound perfectly.
Their EP launch got off to a good start, with a string of local acts delivering the goods. KNOE, the first to play, made good use of the intimate venue, inviting everyone to the front while he spit smooth wisdom over some sick Clams Casino-inspired beats. While not quite getting as many people to dance as they desired, The Weapon is Sound did manage to get most of the crowd swaying along to their cool blend of psychedelic rock, reggae and electronica, with plenty of guitar theatrics. The pick of the opening acts was undeniably Grievous Bodily Calm, however. Another one of our favourite upcoming Perth acts, the jazz group wowed the audience with an insanely tight performance, each member perfectly in sync with the others. It’s worth noting that they came good with their promise of new music this week, and aren’t we all glad about it! After hearing so much about them, I was thrilled to get the chance to witness these legends in person.
But the night belonged to the POW! Boys, and they delivered the best set I’ve ever seen them play. Clearly enjoying the energy given off by the packed crowd, Nelson Mondlane was perhaps the most hyped I’d seen him, riding the beats with ease while jumping about the stage. Drummer Rhys Hussey called him “Australia’s best MC” at one point, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Meanwhile, the rest of the band were as spotless as I’d ever seen them, playing their often-difficult arrangements with absolute ease.
Of course, all the tracks from their new EP were given their moment to shine (plus a cover and an oldie or two), with ‘Racketball’ kicking off proceedings (proceeded by an atmospheric scene-setter). ‘Money for Portraits’ was a total crowd-pleaser, as usual, instigating plenty of moshing and crowd-surfing. For the final three tracks, POW brought out select brass players from the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, which finished the night on a high like no other. The extra brass gave already-amazing tracks like set-closer ‘Hidle Ho!’ an incomparable boost, and I’d love to see them collaborate more in the future. Besides, who doesn’t want to mosh to a few brass instruments?
POW! Negro have earnt their place in the spotlight. It was crystal clear on Saturday night that they have more than a few adoring fans, and I well and truly count myself as one of them. This is a band that NEEDS to be massive… and let me tell you, having Nelson Mondlane scream the words right into your face is a glorious experience that money can’t buy.