This Friday night marked the debut single launch of one of Perth’s newest rising rock outfits, The Southern River Band. Hailing from the esteemed suburb of Thornie, the band have steadily built an impressive amount of hype in a short space of time, building a reputation for an outlandish look and impressive live show. With supports from The Wheelers of Oz and High Horse, the launch of “One Of These Nights (I’ll be gone)” at Mojos Bar looked thoroughly worth attending.
As I enter I am met with the easy sounds of an act that looks like a crew of rag tag sailors, all stripes and belts and big leather boots. The Wheelers of Oz, a jammy and bluesy Psych outfit comprised of drums, bass and three gorgeous looking vintage guitars. Their influences are easy to name but their overall vibe is hard to put a finger on. Scratchy and riffy licks meet smooth, hypnotic drum grooves in spacey, slow burning compositions which the listener has no trouble swaying too. While their lack of experience does show on stage they did not fail to charm with a great look and a freeform, dazed vibration which served as a warm welcome to the evening.
A considerably more polished and streamlined musical unit descended upon the battered Mojos stage as the seconds support of the evening. High Horse is a musical project comprised of four of Perth’s most hired musicians coming together to make quirky and unmistakably Australian indie rock with a focus on discordance. Their set is an unpredictable rollercoaster of impeccably tight musicianship clashing with deliberately unmusical guitar-noise. Fronted by locally prominent carrot-top Timothy Nelson, High Horse serves as an interesting platform for the singer/songwriter to embrace a grittier, more intense direction to his better known projects. High Horse were certainly not a sound I was accustomed to hearing at Mojos, but their musicianship alone deemed them worth watching and they enjoyed a warm reception from the growing crowd.
What’s not to love about beefy blokes in leggings? The Southern River Band’s flamboyant and flirtatious appearance is a mouthful at first glance, but a token of the spirit this band is founded on. A packed out crowd of over two hundred are ushered into the main room by the vibrant ramblings of outlandish piss-tank and SRB frontman Callum Kramer. With a vibration so extravagant it borders on ridiculous, the band had big expectations to live up to in order to be taken seriously. And golly gosh did they deliver.
The Southern River Band deliver an explosion of balls-to-the-wall country-infused rock drawing influence straight from the of classic 1970s godfathers of their sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Deep Purple. While a talented and well balanced unit, Kramer is the centerpiece of the act. A wiry, mullet clad animal wearing nothing but paisley tights practically bouncing off the walls, and holding up the whole show is the piece of wood he cradles between his hands. An inspired and electrifying player, the man’s blistering lead lines are so genuinely epic they infect any witness with the sort of awe that gives you that feeling that rock music exists for. The bare chests, bandanas now perfectly matched to the excess and intensity of the music.
The set lasts for over two hours, SRB burning through bouncy rock and authentic blues tunes even venturing into a solo acoustic serenade. The last of their songs is the single we are all gathered to celebrate, “One Of These Nights (I’ll be Gone)”. A heartfelt ballad of leaving that whips the crowd into an emotive, singalong frenzy for over ten minutes. The crescendo of which sees the beloved band mates screaming out over the monitors and Kramer shredding with guitar held high behind his head. The song ends in the ring of amplifiers and the roar of a sweat-soaked crowd as the joyous evening comes to an end.
In less than twelve months they have risen from an overdressed Tavern band to being placed firmly on the map as one of WA’s premier rock bands and seem to be rocketing further into the realms of stardom just as quickly. A triumphant performance from a young group with a future ahead of them. I will certainly be watching this band again and implore those reading this to hurry down to the very next show you can, the live show is the only way to truly experience the sweet chaos of this act.