Karen Andrews is the dynamo behind MMK Music Promotions. She coordinates a fortnightly feast of metal at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Nundah, a suburb on Brisbane’s north side. She puts an unbelievable amount of time and energy into coordinating, organising and running these gigs, as she is a staunch believer in music and in giving bands a voice, as well as a venue to share it.
Rumour has it that due to a number of circumstances there were 7 changes in the lineup for this evening, at least one on the the day of the gig. That she pulls it all together with a smile is amazing.
Karen, simply, thanks for all that you do.
My partner in crime for this gig was our elder daughter Sophie, who has a fine metal pedigree. She could sing Rammstein’s “Engel” from start to finish when she was 2. Don’t judge me…
The lead singer spent some time stretching his hamstrings before the set. I wondered why… because from the outset this was high energy! He bounded and moved and perched at the front of the stage, projecting an ominous presence.
I was amazed by the flexibility of his vocals – they were threatening one moment – stirring the next – but always engaging.
Ocean Shores started without fanfare, but with flammable metal. They launched right into it, eager to draw us into their world.
The three players were tight in their execution, together all the way through and their transitions were as smooth as silk.
On stage they were humble, accessible and appreciative. I had a laugh at one point when the vocalist yelled, “I love yoga!”
They also paused to thank the firies, who are currently battling some of the worst bushfires our sunburnt country has seen. They then unleashed their song “On My Life”, a tribute to the emergency services.
Ocean Shores had abundant energy and it was obvious that they loved what they did.
Each song had a life of its own and they were not frightened to push the boundaries of rhythm and tempo.
The guitarist impressed me with his technical skill and the clean sound of his playing. At one stage he dropped his pick and just hammered right on.
Ocean Shores was no frills, all substance.
We learnt after their set that this is only their second ever gig. This is truly remarkable, given their performance.
We met the vocalist after – he was indeed humble and he gave us attentive time. And he was very sweaty.
Soph’s opinion? I love watching metal live. When do you ever get a chance to be that close to a live artist? (I wondered when she had been close to a dead one…)
Emotion Killer kicked off with a raging backing track.
They then thanked all the bands for pulling out, giving them an opportunity to play! Their self-depreciating banter was great throughout and some of it was gold! “Masturbate to your virtual reality girlfriend!”
Their second track absolutely rollicked. They were tight and their sound lived up to their modern metal and death metal reputation.
Their approach and demeanour was quirky and it was obvious that they were into their set.
Their playing was tight and interconnected and the work to get to this point was obvious.
They’ve got heart and they wear it on their sleeves. I give them full credit for stepping in last minute.
They are refreshingly raw, like diamonds in the rough. They’ve got a way to go, but have an abundance of time.
I am keen to see how they develop over the coming months and years.
Soph’s opinion? Raw, but full of enthusiastic promise.
Last 9 Days
These folks caught my attention as they prepared, as they seemed effortless and professional.
From the very beginning, it was obvious that our senses were going to be assaulted.
The vocalist stalked the front of the crowd. He was listless, lost in the performance. He grabbed us by the scruff of the necks and didn’t let go.
Ferocious enthusiasm emanated from this band. They were experienced, masterful and coordinated.
They drew the crowd in close and personal and we appreciated their craft.
Not a moment was wasted on stage, as there was always something happening, another sound or movement to hook us.
The vocals morphed from the conversational to the confrontational and back again.
The songs were diverse and powerful and one lyric rang out and has stuck with me, “You want to treat me like a game? Then I’ll show you how it’s played.”
All the band members were into it. The drummer smashed the skins so hard I wouldn’t be surprised if there was tsunami somewhere. The interplay of guitars over and through each other was sensational, giving a dynamic complexity to the sound. We witnessed some amazing guitar work – a blur of fingers and a wall of sound that was fast, furious and technically clean.
I was told that these folks are friends off the stage and this may well be true, but they are architects of auditory mayhem on it.
Soph’s opinion? You know the Iron Lungs that they put polio survivors in? These must put them in the lungs of the singer because he’s got some some serious talent.
Plague the City
Plague the City kicked right off by head banging, down and dirty, in unison. They kept this up all the way through their set – these folks are NOT pretenders.
I was told that one of the guitarists is a stone mason by day. He may work with stone, but he is metal magician by night, barefoot, in touch with the Earth.
Whether it be the mixing of the venue, or the preference of the band, I appreciated the noticeable presence of the bass.
The vocalist had a voice that rumbled your organs one moment, then stabbed your brain the next. When it was deep, it was like something from the depths of Hell. But, he’s not a one trick pony – he also wailed on “This Is the End”.
The guitarists had a unity of intent and their passion was evident in every moment.
These folks all work hard in their occupations, so seeing them can be tricky, making this gig a delicacy indeed.
They also can belt out a ballad, these being the V8 of power ballads. The openings were emotive and that clean voice surfaced again. It was a whole different sound – these folks have their heart and soul in what they do.
The beginning of every song had me wondering where they were going to take us, but in every instance they played their hearts out and captured ours.
To my surprise and quickly emerging delight they closed with a cover of the Police track “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”. But, theirs had more sting… They turned the intent of the song from the haunting and troubled tale of the discomfort of a teacher who is being seduced by a student to an unmistakeable warning to step the fuck back.
This set was awesome.
Soph’s opinion? We have just experienced greatness. This band enriches your soul.
All through the evening I watched the bands greet each other warmly, bonded by the brotherhood of metal. It was fantastic to see the support that they offered each other.
This was another example of why we need live music with local bands. In bang for your buck terms, this wins hands down over spending a million dollars to be a speck on the horizon in an arena seeing an international act. That has its place, but the great bands on your doorstep also deserve your time.
Get on it.
Photography by Karen Andrews MMK