Cinema Prague, Zxspecky, Okioki @ Club Capitol, Perth (1/9/2007)

For anyone that knows anything about Perth’s local music scene, you would have at least heard the name of Cinema Prague, one the most influential bands of WA of the early ‘90s. For fans from back when the band first formed in 1986 when they were all in year 10, after touring across Europe, South Africa and the US, and even after taking a break that has lasted almost a decade long, this reunited and refined gig at Capitol has been a very long time coming indeed.

Starting off to a very small crowd of uninterested punters was indie electronica band Okioki showcasing their tunes and beats on stage with presence that didn’t really connect or resonate with the crowd in any way. Their style of music was reminiscent of the sort of music you’d hear backing an old Nintendo game or Japanese cartoon but, to their credit, they were catchy enough get some very inebriated patrons on the dance floor shaking their groove-thang which funnily enough, was more entertaining to watch.

Next up, with a few more people buzzing around in anticipation, were another local band by the name of zxspecky. With a crowd made up mainly of people in their early-to-mid 30s, the band’s old school hardcore punk style seemed to go down as smooth as the liquor. Charismatic as these young lads may be, one could not help but feel as though their lyrics were lacking in substance and meaning, something all those anarchic bands from back in the day always had. Nonetheless they pulled off a great set, strong vocals by frontman Rory Morrison and catchy hits like Service Oriented that come with a strong language warning.

And then, before anyone had realised, the venue was packed and there was a feeling of uncertainty looming in the air as the crowd waited in anticipation to see as to whether three old school rockers could still bring the beat back after being out of the game for so long. There was a dynamic mix of people standing before the stage; 30-somethings that came to see an old favourite, and a few curious young ones that came to see what gave Cinema Prague their cult status.

Then, the trio appeared from the dimly lit stage in all their blazing glory from almost a decade ago, opening with George’s Blues. The team made up of George Kailis (vocals, guitar) better known as Georgie K, Tim Lowe (vocals, drums) and newly assigned Roy Martinez (backing vocals, bass) to take the place of former bassist Rex –  “Hossi’ Horan, who has since relocated to London. The crowd accepted the talented Martinez nevertheless, giving him a very warm welcome indeed.

During second track Hangman, the group was joined by a live saxophone and trumpet backing, which added that little touch of funk to their songs and featured intermittently throughout the hour-long set. Some songs were very much on the punk side while some had a real jazz-funk feel to them, showing the versatility that made them so influential in the past. Well there’s that, and the fact that they affectionately refer to themselves and the crowd as ‘The Moo Moo’ – of which the origins are a bit hazy, but makes a damn good song anyway, appropriately named We Are the Moo Moo as though they were all in some obscure club.

As Cinema Prague rounded off a great night with hits of new and old and solos good enough to melt your ears, the oldies of the crowd left grinning in content while the younguns left knowing what the oldies were going on about. There is a certainty that we’ll be hearing more from these guys in the near future, with new album Snakes Alive pencilled in for release in January next year.