Adelaide legends The Mark Of Cain are celebrating thirty years since the release of their debut album Battlesick. These guys are seriously good and their second of two shows at The Gov highlighted that fact. The Mark Of Cain are one of those highly acclaimed and respected bands who should have had more commercial success but nevertheless they have been able to forge a music career doing it their own way.
It isn’t until you hear an album such as Battlesick in full from start to end that you can truly appreciate its brilliance. I think the only disappointing thing about this show was the fact that the Battlesick vinyl wasn’t available to purchase.
Openers the Messthetics were an interesting choice to support The Mark Of Cain. This instrumental band featuring bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty from Fugazi, that alone was enough to get a lot of fans excited. How would one describe them? Well I’ve heard the tag “jazz punk jam” amongst all things. They have some solid songs in the armoury with Quantum Path sticking out for me.
It was a low key build up to The Mark Of Cain as they took to the stage. John Scott mentioned how the show was going to go down and thanked the crowd for coming out on a Wednesday and said to the faithful that he hoped they weren’t working tomorrow. Scott acknowledged that Battlesick was one of their lesser known albums and thanked the Messthetics who he said stretched his IQ by twenty points.
One thing is for sure, The Mark Of Cain pack plenty of punch and they sounded as good as I’ve ever heard them before. Drummer Eli Green is a gun on drummers complementing their hard rock sound so well. There was no surprises as far as the set list goes playing Battlesick from start to end. Wake Up and The Hammer were intense and bruising openers, sensational start. Following Dead Man’s Mail Scott said “We’re getting there! We’re getting there!” Like a freight train there was no stopping The Mark Of Cain.
Call In Anger and what Scott described as their punk rock song The Setback sounded awesome. Battlesick, You Are Alone, Attrition and Suppression were all killer tracks. Scott again thanked the crowd for being kind and that was the record done after Summertime.
The second part of the set after a short break was like a matinee show building to a crescendo. It was now the band pulled out the big guns with First Time, The Contender and Interloper. Oh my, how good was (R) Retaliate? Brilliant! Familiar Territory and LMA would be up there as highlights also. Being the final show of the tour and being in Adelaide there was something a bit special with a Big Black cover of Kerosene. Scott promised not to fuck it up as they were going out on a limb. The end came with a hard hitting version of Point Man and the promise of another tour to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Ill At Ease. See you next year!
Live Review By Rob Lyon