NICK OLIVERI @ The Rosemount Hotel
w/ The Southern River Band, Puck
I strolled into the Rosemount Hotel tonight sober as a judge and took in the fresh construction site smell which made me feel right at home. The Rosemount has made some much needed changes to their main room. Goodbye shitty island of barely tended bar, hello floor space. Vibe: improved.
The added floor space was extra noticeable as attendance was fairly poor and stiff for Puck, who swayed through heavy drone tunes laden with slightly over emotional vocals in my opinion. They had moments of heavy greatness and deserved a better audience. A tough call at 7pm on a Sunday.
As the crowd slowly grew, The Southern River Band took the stage and stripped the room of it’s stiffness. These boys don’t fuck around. Well, they do, a lot, but in the most entertaining way possible, and only between songs. There’s no funny business once the song takes off, it’s balls to the wall rock and roll. If you can’t enjoy SRB, you’re probably a sad, dry old prune with no sense of humour.
Cal Kramer is possibly the best front man in Australia at the moment and I challenge anyone to watch a set of theirs and not crack a big juicy grin. These boys play unashamed cock rock, ripped straight off the boys who ripped it off some other boys. They’ve got bandanas, tight pants, a drummer that looks like Vin Diesel and chops for days. The night would have been a bit grim if it wasn’t for the SRB, they were the tasty ham in a slightly stale sandwich. Do yourself a favour and check them out if you haven’t yet.
Nick Oliveri, the man of the hour, took the stage with his acoustic guitar to face the now half full Rosemount main room. Opening with a song about being a cop who likes to kill people which then turned into Green Machine by his old band Kyuss, I thought that maybe this could be good. It got better with I’m Gonna Leave You. It then took a turn for the worse. Oliveri played through songs we all know and love that simply do not lend themselves well to a solo acoustic set.
Knowing that later he would be backed by a band, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was choosing to do these weird versions of songs that kind of NEED a band. It was awkward, and a bit sad. Many present punters would disagree with me, judging by the drunken heckles of love which sprayed Jim Beam soaked spit all over the back of my neck. There’s no denying the man has some devoted fans, and for good reason. He has been involved with some absolutely legendary bands, and in my opinion, Queens of the Stone Age were no longer a band worth listening to after his departure.
Despite all the love I have for his previous projects, the Nick Oliveri solo show is something I will politely decline in the future. I went outside for a cigarette when he started screaming an old QOTSA song acapella and unfortunately missed out on Feel Good Hit Of The Summer where he apparently welcomed members of the audience on stage and according to a good friend of mine: “absolutely butchered a song I have loved for years….I don’t think I can ever listen to the song again after witnessing that.” Bummer bro.
I will say that Nick Oliveri was much more warm and gracious than I expected him to be, which was a nice surprise.
Local rockers The Floors, who later doubled as Oliveri’s backing band, lifted things up again with their high octane rock piggery. Playing through a few of their own songs before being joined by Mr Oliveri it felt like things were back on track. There’s no denying the raw power of these boys. The unstoppable force of the Dux brothers backed by Ash Doodkorte’s big fat fuck off beats was truly satisfying after the strange acoustic performance.
Not quite as satisfying, however, as when Big Nick reappeared to front The Floors and play some real shit. Launching into Kyuss’s Thumb, this is what I came to see. Loud, hellish fucking rock and roll. Our local lads completely crushed their parts and did Perth proud. Nick’s demon screams finally made sense over the top of big, obese, oozing riffs. They played through two more songs with the same ferocity and awesomeness before leaving the stage.
Feeling fairly disappointed the whole gig hadn’t been done like this, one last bit of tasty rock meat was served up when they returned to rip the guts (in a good way) out of Quick and to the Pointless. 10 – 15 minutes of hot redemption kind of made up for the 45 minutes of awkward confusion.
Photos by Tahlia Palmer