Orphaned Land, Voyager & Orsome Welles - The Rev, Brisbane - 23/03/2014

Cold venue. Hot bands...

My heart is gladdened. Catching three solid bands, especially on a balmy Sunday evening, is always a joy and tonight was no exception. Aside from the air-con that was set at minus fifteen and froze me half to death, every band blew my tiny mind. Melbs peeps Orsome Welles opened proceedings with Fool; vocalist Michael Stowers offered some remarkably restrained, yet exceptionally rich, lyrical work over the band's grunty, groovish tunes. I thought perhaps Jamiroquai meets Down meets Living Colour as a rather bizarre comparison. Grizzly Adams and a cockney chimney sweep (complete with cheese-cutter flat cap) busted out some fine twinned guitar work against some lovely slap-bass and it was funk-a-licious good times. Then it got mellow (and perhaps just a tad baggy) then it got Black Sabbath heavy and I thought the PA would die, Surely this was the tune to finish on? But no, Orsome Welles pushed on and went out with Want You To Know, a big statement with jazzy chord work and, for me, slightly weaker than the massively heavy tune that preceded it. Regardless, I'm a convert to their unique stylings.

Keytar? Check. Cheeky/sexy lead singer? Check. Whole band having an absolute blast on stage? Check. And thus Perth's Voyager captured the hearts and minds of the crowd with their soaring keyboards and The Devil In Me. It had pomp and it had majesty - and Voyager know how to work a crowd - I'd go as far as to imagine them on an arena tour with their charismatic ways. There were synth breaks and clapping breaks, a backing track and fun times, and it was good to see Simone Dow making sexy guitar faces with the best of them. Drop in a sample of some popular culture (Ciggy Butt Brain) and then launch into a medley of Kung Fu Fighting, What Is Love, Eye of the Tiger and a host of other classic cheese-pop and make that audience grin their chops right off their faces. They've got a new album coming out soon so get involved in the Kickstarter funding campaign. Anyways, Voyager pushed out one last track - the name escapes me - but they went off. I *heart* Voyager.

And then it was the main event; Orphaned Land, pioneers of 'Oriental metal' (or so it's claimed on their web-site), combining jewish and arabian influences. I was intrigued as I hadn't heard their material before. Vocalist Kobi Farhi materialised on stage in a long robe, and bare-feet (that's a health & safety issue, right there), immediately blasting the vocals to a back-drop of suitably middle eastern spiced riffage. This was some good stuff, like a more accesible Secret Chiefs. My only disappointment was the fact that much of the traditional instrumentation was on a backing track but you can't cart a dozen or so cithara/oud players around with you on tour, eh? Regardless of the fact that I didn't know any of Orphaned Land's tunes, I was massively impressed and I am defintely a convert to their work. If you like a a bit of spice to your metal then check these very talented fellows out. I had a sweet night despite The Rev NOT HAVING ANY FUCKING BRANDY?! Which outraged me terribly...but all in all, a trio of top tunes from a suitably diverse bill.