Shihad, Black Devil Yard Boss, The Killgirls @ Fowler’s Live, Adelaide (20/11/10)


I first saw New Zealand’s Shihad when they were supporting Silverchair, and knew nothing about them beforehand. What I got was an energetic rock, bordering on metal show that blew me away and I have been a fan ever since. A long career of solid albums has seen them practically claimed by Aussies like Russel Crowe. With newest album Ignite in tow, Shihad have been doing the rounds again, bringing them to Fowlers its crammed occupants.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Trial Kennedy pulled out of their support slot due to illness, and were replaced by local act The Killgirls, who operate on some odd midground between modern rock and electro. They are a little too reliant on programmed synth lines I found, which leaves less room for the talented musos to actually show what they can do, but a few stand out tracks showed they knew what they were doing. They ended with the famed chant Fight for Your Right (to Party) from Beastie Boys within their own track which was a nice touch.

Next up was a more straightforward rock band with no synthetic sounds to be found, just raw and unabashed riffing and pounding from the Melbourne trio Black Devil Yard Boss. I noticed some blues and Ash Grunwald-esque roots influences in there during their awesome set. Frontman Pete was the full package, with good vocals, greater riffs and impressive lead chops. Musclebound drummer Zane put 110% into every hit and was joined by Shihad’s Tom Larkin for a drum duel for one song. They epitomised cool and were a worthy support for Shihad.

Now up to album number eight, Shihad have honed their ability to create the simple rock anthem and have a wealth of experience and material to draw from which came together for a killer set. Singer and guitarist Jon Toogood has lost none of his energy and hopped up on a floor speaker surrounded by punters within the first few minutes, and was topless near the end despite now having a E.T. physique. The crowd was responsive and friendly, and the only insult about Shihad’s across-the-pond natural habitat was shrugged off. “Choice as bru? That’s the best you could do?”

Opening with new track The Final Year of the Universe, the Kiwis went onto heavy hitters My Mind’s Sedate and The General Electric. Their best tracks all got a look in, and the encore was an apologetic response to Adelaide missing out on seeing Shihad’s Killjoy or The General Electric albums played in full, with a track from each as consolation. Shihad provided an excellent and affordable way to spend a Saturday evening.