Earthless, Kitchen Witch, Maisie @ The Gov, Adelaide 13/3/2023
Earthless were back in Adelaide after an eleven-year absence. Forming in 2001, the three-piece band still holds its original members in guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton. Ironically on this Monday evening of the South Australian long weekend, our Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was in San Diego, while the San Diego band were in Adelaide.
First up was Adelaide band Maisie, playing their fusion of grooves, funk and rock. Apparently, the band was named after an obscure Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) song so that gives some indication of what to expect. Maisie had just started when I entered The Gov, but the psych rock happening on stage soon had me paying close attention. “Here’s more funk” we were told as the band launched into Freak (not the Silverchair version) and funk it was although during the song, it gave way to some dreamy soundscape guitar sounds. Hot Juice and Sharp Shooter rounded out a fine set from this young band.
Next was Adelaide’s own Kitchen Witch playing their brand of desert/stoner rock. With a heavy bass sound driving the band, they hurled themselves into the opening track, Lost. The drummer, Ed Noble, played frantically, arms flaying all over the place and leaping off his stool at regular intervals. He reminded me of watching Keith Moon, drummer for The Who. A nice drum rolled led into Glitch and the next song, Rosemary, had a Led Zeppelin vibe to it. That is not a bad thing either, for at times I was comparing Georgie Cosson’s voice with Robert Plant. After checking with the sound desk, the band played the title track from their new album Earth and Ether, much to the joy of the audience.
When was the last time you went to a concert and the band played only one song for the main set? Well tonight we got Night Parade of One Hundred Demons played for an hour. I guess technically it was two songs as it was Part 1 and Part 2. Watching and listening to Earthless live is a journey you take and have no idea where the destination is.
Starting with the guitar pickings of Issiah Mitchell, the song slowly builds until drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton join in and then it becomes a full force of nature. Issiah’s guitar notes fill the room continually and there is no rest for Mario on drums. The song goes for an hour and he never stops hitting the drums hard. When Part 2 starts, it is Mario’s drumming that leads the barrage that is to come, for at least five minutes, with Issiah and Mike just playing hauntingly under the salvo from the drums.
There are no vocals on these tracks, just the guitar singing beautifully to the sound emitting from behind it. It’s one long guitar solo, one long drum solo and one long bass solo, all rolled into one. The music changes from heavy metal, to heavy blues, to psychedelic rock with no notice of intent. Are they just jamming? Is this just a sity-minute exploration of sound? No, this is the sound of a highly tuned, professional rock band giving their all.
With a humble “Thank you. Thanks for coming out to see us” from Issiah, the band left the stage only to reappear quickly and with a This is Death to the Red Sun they again assaulted our ears aurally for the next twenty five minutes. With this being played it meant the band had just given us an extended presentation of their latest album in its entirety. I think a bit of Black Sabbath influence was thrown in at the end of Death to the Red Sun and the crowd loved it. Another humble “Thanks for coming. Thanks for being here) and the band left the stage.
Rock and Roll is designed to get you off your seat and move your feet. Rock and Roll can make you dance, make you laugh, make you feel sad or happy, but sometimes you just have to stand back in awe and let the music wash over you. Tonight, was such a night. An exquisite performance.
Now can we do a deal with San Diego? They can keep Albo and we keep Earthless.
Live Review By Geoff Jenke