Ezekiel Ox is a exceptional performer, he makes the whole venue his stage, jumping off his pulpit, staring at you with the intensity his politically charged lyrics demand. Behind him, his band display a extremely adept knack of switching styles between funk to metal and all the colours of the rainbow in-between. That the venue on this cold, ‘monsoon like’ winter night is not full, is testament to the mans performance, as he becomes a one man energy source of raw heat to keep us warm. This is show, after all, that is named after the man himself of course.
Ox isn’t alone at this show, Headphone Piracy open the night with Aussie hip hop over, well, whatever style of music you like really. You want southern blues rhythms with hip hop, you got it. You want alternative melodic rock with hip hop, you got it.
While rapper Steve Dedz lays down the rhymes, the second piece of the duo, Krave Kemistry, handles the music. It could be dance beats, vocal harmonies, playing reggae rhythms, it doesn’t matter and the duo make it all work seamlessly.
Grey Heart Red, also from Adelaide, are a straight rock band. Tracks like Evoke are full of dynamics of heavy riffs with soft melodies. When the band slows the pace, vocalist Andrew Kieselbach displays a Bono style vocal delivery, almost like a storyteller. Meanwhile bassist Jarryd Hartwig makes his instrument sound like a rhythm guitar one minute, a tonne of crashing bricks the next as he twirls around on the stage.
Australia’s own Jello Biafra, Ezekiel Ox, has entertained audiences around the country for more than twenty years. Last here only a few months ago with Superheist, Ox takes to the stage in a minimalist way however from there the intensity dials up to eleven on this last show of Cheering Bombs From Deck Chairs tour.
The belting funk track My Name is the point Ox drives straight in the crowd, face to face, eyeballing the crowd one by one, bellowing the chorus. Death Threat is a fast paced number with a touch of jive about it, allowing the ever expressive Ox to manoeuvre like a contorted mannequin across the venue.
Ox basically gives up performing on the stage and spends most of the time surrounded by the crowd, transferring energy between them. The band themselves, completed by drummer Steve Smith, guitarist Leigh Davies and bassist Sarox Martini, hit all the right notes. Showing their diversity by mixing funk, punk, rock and a touch of jazz mixed with their metal flashes, they are just as enjoyable to watch as the Ox is himself.
History has an enjoyable Irish jig touch to it and by the time Ox has everyone chanting Fuck Them not long after, no one is thinking about the storm outside, only the sweat drenched performance inside.
Ever the work-a-holic , Ox announces this band will tour again soon before finishing an entirely entrancing set with Proper Gander and Bear Trap.
As he leaves the stage, Ox mimics another outspoken punk anarchist, Mr J. Rotten, with a cry of ‘Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?’. If I have to wait another six months to see such an amazing show again, then yes Mr Ox, we all have.
Live Review By Iain McCallum