He Is Legend, Hammers, Kitchen Witch, Swordfish Trombone @ Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide 21/5/2023

It’s a cold Sunday night in Adelaide and Lion Arts welcomes American southern rock legends He Is Legend to town for a night that’s going to get hot and sweaty and loaded up with the heaviest riffs around.

Opening the nights events are a couple of Adelaide bands starting with Swordfish Trombone who open with the aptly titled Let The Wild Rumpus Start.

With a strong post hardcore metal vibe over the foundation of groove metal, the show makes for enjoyable viewing as singer Will Oakshott decides his performance is going to be on the floor, the bar, the roof and anywhere else he can stretch the mic cord as he also embraces every punter in the crowd .

New single Torment has a driving slow rhythm that takes over your body while Bad Luck To Kill A Sea Bird highlights how impressive the guy in the crowd is who has literally played every air instrument in the set. Enjoyable fare for those watched.

Kitchenwitch came in with one goal and that was to see whether the old building could handle their stoner doom riffs and the band threw everything at it.

Vocalist Georgie Cosson mixes a Stevie Knicks style with the range of Robert Plant, as the band reverberate around the venue. It’s so good too, the drums are powerful, the bass growls and the riffs are chunkier than chunky hot pot soup.

They mix Sabbath riffs with the psychedelic desert charm of Zeppelin and swagger of Kyuss as their epic songs takes you on a ride through your own subconscious. In this venue, this music is extremely hypnotising.

It might be a little nipple hardening cold in here but Queensland’s Hammers are about to blow a furnace of fire on stage. Their blend of nasty rock n roll mixed with punk and heavy grooves has heads banging and devils horns up in unison.

Vocalist Leigh Dowling jumps into the crowd and has the audience in sync as he roars through Golden Gloves while Lucas Stone switches from blues solos to hardcore riffage in a seamless blink.

With a setlist that has breaks for ‘yarn’, the larrikin humour of the band is ever present. They obviously enjoy each others presence and playing. Whether it’s drummer Ruckus – resplendent in bathrobe and leopard leggings – or one liners of Stones mini strip tease, everything is fair game and fun.

Talking of Ruckus, those drums are hit with the power of a toddler who has decided they’re not eating what they asked for and they are epic in Silly Sausage and The Other Side. The riffs come and when they do hold onto your beers in the crushing Guilty Pleasures and When Kings Collide.

Hammers performance was pretty much everything you want – fun, heavy, bluesy, wickedly entertaining and connected everyone in the room. Top notch gents.

Opening with a powder keg fused White Bat, He Is Legend show their chops as the time switches between that slow filthy riff and blur of failing arms and waved hair.

Frontman Schuylar Croom is at one with the music, contorting around the stage like the bastard child of Mick Jagger’s swagger and Seb Bach’s ungainly height except with more style, class and croon.

The set list spans their whole career as they follow up with The Seduction which gets the heads moving and hips swaying, which slots nicely in after Burn All Your Rock Records.

He Is Legends ability to get down and dirty with the riffs not only showcases drummer Jesse Shelley chops but also the ability to direct the music through the many subtleties of the bands time signatures and just how big and chunky those guitars sounds in this venue.

Everyone I Know Has Fangs is infectious and the speed doesn’t let up, unless it’s for a brutally epic head banging session, through Sour, Eye Teeth and a literal earthquake of ferocity in Boogiewoman.

Croom has fond memories of Adelaide and is an engaging front man as regales the audience before the band rip a new one through The Prowler which makes parts of the body tingle I didn’t know could.

Finishing with ‘The Nasty’, a take on Smashing Pumpkins Zero and I Am Hollywood – a raucous circle pit forming beauty of a track – Croom loses himself furthermore in his performance handing vocals to a random fan before bringing it back to finish the show triumphant. With that He Is Legend are done and everyone is in guitar heaven bliss.

Those who ventured through the rain and cold to check out the show got 110% value of rock n roll , floor stomping, neck sore in the morning entertainment. Brilliant show from brilliant bands.

Live Review By Iain McCallum

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