Rogerthat, The Blackwater Fever, The Cool Calm Collective @ The Cooly Hotel (04/09/2009)

Tonight, The Coolangatta Hotel was hosting somewhat of a local derby. Three quality South-East Queensland bands were about to take the stage, each of them quite capable of drawing a formidable crowd, and although tonight belonged to homecoming kings, Rogerthat, they had a couple of friends that wanted to say a few words first. íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨

Having one of the coolest band names in history doesn’t seem to be tough to live up to for The Cool Calm Collective. The warm, shake-your-ass vibe of this dub-reggae-funk outfit is like chicken pox in a child care centre – impossible to avoid. Lead singer and part-time guitarist Tane Walker channels all the right influences and oozes the kind of Gold Coast cool that Brisbanites love to hate; while I dare anyone to dislike or fault his soul-soaked backup mistress, Georgia Potter. It’s barely a song before the half strength crowd are pressed against the front barrier. The set is lapped up by the clearly-familiar crowd – and would be by anyone who’s ever skanked to the likes of Sublime or The Wailers. Apart from a tight cover of The Beatles’ Come Together, a set highlight was tough to pinpoint. Great chill tunes and a great warmer for the night ahead.

íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨It’s no far stretching assumption that just out-of-towners The Blackwater Fever own a Black Keys cd (and poster) or two. Musical genre isn’t the only thing the Brisbane pair have in common with the amp busting Ohio duo – frontman and guitarist Shane Hicks sports uncannily similar facial fuzzies too.

Having a sound comparable to such class isn’t a bad thing. It’s a sound relatively unexplored by Aussie bands and one that could quite easily fall short of being convincing but The Blackwater Fever totally hit the mark. From the outset, the thud of Andrew Walter ’s kick-drum is the constant, throbbing pulse; Hicks’ fat, fuzzed-out riffing is the tortured body, and the passionate vocals are the wailing of the heart, the screams for mercy and an unbridled madman swearing revenge.

íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨_Blackwater_ and Crawlin’ Skin are fast-paced foot stompers, while Better Off Dead is a little slower but dirty, viscous and unbelievably more-ish. If there was a Brisbane bayou it’d be sweltering, muddy and beyond the reach of the law – and The Blackwater Fever would be right at home.

íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨Breathing hometown air for the first time in months, time-tripping Gold Coast four-piece Rogerthat are visibly glad to be home. Looking like a bunch of guys that subscribe to the theory of natural evolution, the band has come a long way from their more thrashy, garage beginnings. The release of their debut album The Desert’s Call, a successful and extensive foreign land tour and (assumably) a closely contested hair growing competition has seen the boys return with a far more self-assured sound.

Convincingly settling in the psychedelic experimental rock genre of mammoth bands from a time past, Rogerthat sound amazing. Green Room opens proceedings with positivity, light, love, sick vintage guitar hooks and backup na-na-nas provided by good mates The Cool Calm Collective. They rock, trip and swirl through oldies and newies in equal serves and the Gold Coast crowd know them all. Playing to a full house of mates, front man Jesse Bailey is relaxed, charismatic and truly happy.

Rogerthat sound like long, wild hair, tie-dye T’s, slow-burning riffs with 1960’s distortion and four guys that play ultra-tight, ultra-accessible psychedelic rock. Into The Unknown is a wind in your hair, downhill, free-wheeling bike ride without brakes or a care. Tangerine Bird is an epic, guitar-led builder, reminiscent of The Doors.

Fittingly though, Jefferson Lane – a song that takes it’s name from a local beachside street and one of their earlier efforts – is the night’s show stopper. Bailey with arms raised to the sky sings –  “now I know this is where I belong’, and it sinks in instantly. Guitarist Jimmy Young is flawless and cosmic in his execution and appears to live and breath every bend and wah, with bass and drums similarly perfect. If you’re into the kind of music that takes you somewhere, the kind of music that lifts and propels and leaves you with a feeling that you’ve really seen a show... then you’ll love Rogerthat. They’re back in town so check –  “em out. íƒÂ¢í¢â€šÂ¬í‚¨