Performing in a glorious 8-piece configuration, the legendary bluesmen that are Old Blood marked the launch of their debut live LP “Live from RADA” with a triumphant performance at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday night. With a little help from Ofa Fotu of Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomic as well as Phil Stroud and Gordon Cant contributing on percussion and organ respectively, Old Blood mustered up an incendiary yet soulful set for the capacity crowd.
In fact the entire evening was typified by passionate performances from a veritable ‘who’s-who’ of burgeoning blues/roots bands that can be found gigging around town. POW! Negro kicked things off with their rambunctious style of jazz fusion influenced hip hop tracks.
The Southern River Band kept the good times rolling, lead by singer/guitarist Callum Kramer, the boys got the crowd worked up with a combination of behind-the-head guitar solos, a snazzy leopard print vest and a cameo from Kramer’s mum.
Having been whipped into a frenzy by this stage the crowd needed to cool off a bit and Luke Dux obliged. Armed with an upright bass and a sinister guitar sound they swiftly put the crowd into a heavy groove, setting the stage the for the main event.
The lights came up for Old Blood, the band shuffled out from backstage, picked up their instruments and immediately launched into an instrumental, the rhythm section of Tyler Ray Michie on drums and Shaun Liddell Jennings on bass began thumping out an impenetrable groove whilst guitarists Edo Ekic and Jules Peet traded riffs. As the band kept building and building on this foundation, the sound from the stage became a thick, heavy wall of noise. It was at that moment Tony Papa-Adams sauntered on stage and joined the fray.
For the rest of the night they didn’t miss a beat.
For a full 75 minutes, frontman Tony Papa-Adams’ captivating presence was undeniable, completely holding the audience’s attention the entire time. He demanded everyone in attendance be firmly aware of the occasion, at one point asking the entire audience to close their eyes as he reminded us that Old Blood’s music is to be felt as much as it is to be heard.
The collection of songs themselves are formidable, many of them lasting over eight minutes in length and featuring multiple instrumental solo’s and improvisational turns. At numerous points in the set the songs come right down to a simmer, guitarist Edo Ekic would typically takeover, standing centre stage he laid down solo after solo, his evocative playing able to bend and manipulate the audience as if they were a separate instrument. Then it would be Jules Peet’s turn, going full Duane Allman on the slide guitar his solo’s were a definite highlight.
Just as soon as you thought the song had strayed too far from its original course, Tony Papa-Adams would launch into another almighty scream snapping everyone in the audience - and the band - to attention. Anyone who’s seen these guys play knows the calibre of musicianship they have on display and if they play half as good on their live album “Live from RADA” as they did on Saturday night then you’ll want to check it out immediately.
We got the opportunity to speak with Josh Pyke, one of the most influential and well-loved musicians in Australia, ahead of the release of his Best Of, B-Sides and Rarities album (out June 30) and national tour in July/August.
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