WAMI 2004 Saturday Spectacular Review -  X-Press, June 2004

Monkey Bar & Amplifier Bar, Saturday June 5th, 2004

Bloody hell’s bells, what a huge show this turned out to be. With a lineup so massive that it required two separate venues, and around 1,000 people through the door, the Saturday Spectacular could possibly be WAM’s biggest success to date.

To be perfectly honest the vibe of the show was amazing, and there was a certain energy in the air that could be felt not only by the many punters in attendance, but also the bands on display, and each of the chosen acts performed as though the show were their own.

From the early moments of The Homicides’ uncharacteristically sober set – the sobriety bringing with it an elevated level of tightness than usual – there was a definite theme of showmanship running throughout the night, and even though the mixed lineup often had softer bands following harder bands, the momentum of the evening stayed headfast.

Grand Central for instance, who are known more as a softer pop band, rose to the occasion in brilliant form, allowing a lot more muscle to be flexed in their sound, which seems to be ever-progressing.

And similarly Spencer Tracy, with a refined lineup, altered their more recognisable sound to encompass more depth and a greater variety of ideas. While out of the pop representation of the night’s bill Grand Central left most bands in their dust, Spencer Tracy are without doubt affirmation that Perth pop is a national heavyweight.

Tragic Delicate were certainly an eye-opening act in their ability to create their own bubble within the adrenalin-charged vibe of the night, though their more ‘dark’ moods fit snugly into the midst of the party, and (again) brought a new and interesting dimension to the show.

Earlier in the night the Yowarliny Singers did a similar thing by surprising everyone with their funky, almost reggae overtones, and even the more relaxed bands, such as Pete Stone And The Assistance, were brimming with good humour and fun, which translated into power and energy in their music. Pete’s standing as a seasoned performer proved there is a definite edge that comes with experience, and from that comes its
own energy.

Energy also came in the form of volume, especially from the Ku-Ling Brothers, who rival the M-16s as being the loudest act in Perth. Even from the beer garden the infectious bottom end of the Ku-Ling Brothers’ set sent a shockwave through the rib cage. It’s amazing how ‘dance’ music can appeal to those (such as this reviewer) have normally have little interest in it simply by locking in to the general feeling and upping the ante of an already pumping night. This reviewer considers himself converted… though will definitely take ear plugs next time.

The Fergusons appeared to be a little less on the ear drum-splitting side, and also marked a return to the sheer fun stakes with their now stripped-back lineup still as strong and bubbly as it has been in the past. Without former singer Mike there is a tiny bit of a gap, but only in terms of familiarity, as the band have every bit as much the skill and chemistry to pick up.

As for taking the night out, Gyroscope were the perfect candidates to not only maintain the standard of the night, but also give it a little kick up the arse to send it well into Sunday morning. The very visual live show has been toned down a smear since the band’s live recording last year, and has thus tightened up their individual playing, which now makes them more powerful than ever. Ever gracious and humble, Gyroscope are about to be given a massive push into the clutches of stardom, and whether or not the clutches take hold, it is without question that the Gyro’s won’t be turning into egomaniacs any time soon. A band of gentlemen if ever there were one. Fingers crossed this next stage of their career is one higher… they deserve that and more.

So yes, if it weren’t already apparent from the over-use of the words ‘vibe’, ‘energy’ and the like, the WAMi Saturday Spectacular was one of the single best Perth showcases in a good few years, so all that remains unsaid is well done
WAM on not only a brilliant show, but a brilliant weekend. Give yourselves a standing ovation.

MIKE WAFER