Long time readers of my blog would have some idea of the music I embrace and the concerts I tend to frequent. None of these readers would expect to find me at a Bacardi Express show, yet when a couple of complimentary passes were thrown my way I figured “Why not broaden my horizons?”
I felt like a bit of a fish out of water as I queued with all the young things at Newcastle Panthers. I haven’t been into a nightclub for more than a decade, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to have such a good time.
After DJ Sampology warmed up the crowds, the Cassette Kids took to the stage. After interviewing them earlier in the month I developed a soft spot for these talented young Aussies, and they didn’t let me down. Lead singer Katrina is such a compelling performer; I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She thanked the growing crowd for arriving early, and they responded to the big hits “Spin” and “Nothing on TV.” They might have been the first act on the bill, but for me they were the best.
I was also impressed with Miami Horror, although I admit I couldn’t place them until they performed “Sometimes.” I hadn’t heard any of their other material before, but their retro pop influences made the tunes feel familiar nonetheless. As a child of the 80s, I really enjoyed their synth driven sound and happily danced along with the growing throng.
My party was all having a great time, but hunger was setting in. It was at this point I really marveled at how well organised the day was. The mojitos were flowing freely, but by placing water on the bar we could easily keep ourselves hydrated without facing queues or ridiculous prices. The food was also more accessible than I’ve seen in many alcohol-sponsored events. It wasn’t cheap – my meat pie cost $5 – but it was absolutely delicious. I’ve paid more for lukewarm ones at the footy. We didn’t have to queue long for our lunch, and there was plenty of it to go round which is more than I can say for other events I’ve been to. Good job Bacardi Express!
We ate while listening to the chunky indie rock of Yves Klein Blue. They were an interesting choice for this kind of event, and one I’m not sure really worked. My 18-year-old sister informed me that they were terrible, and while I didn’t feel as strongly I admitted that they seemed a bit out of place here. Maybe it was just our position to the side of stage, but the sound also felt a little off to me, too distorted. We didn’t have any other complaints all show, so I can only assume they’re one of the bands who love to play with those sort of sounds. It really didn’t work for me. But one of the great things about a show like this though is that if someone doesn’t float your boat, another band will replace them before too long.
That act was Art vs Science, one of the real highlights for this Newcastle crowd. I must admit, I don’t get this band. I didn’t get them when I first saw “Parlez Vous Francais” on Video Hits, and I still don’t get them. But I can’t argue with that crowd who completely went off during the set. They jumped around like one organism with so much energy and enthusiasm. The band was tight, and the guitarist phenomenal, but I must admit I was left scratching my head while my sister spoke in superlatives!
I was probably most excited to see headlining Brit act La Roux. What a shame Elly Jackson didn’t appear more excited to see us! Despite telling us that her body and voice were feeling the effects of the tour, she delivered a technically flawless set. Her voice was superb, and she gave us all the songs we’d hoped for including “In for the Kill” and the predictable closer “Bulletproof.” But would it hurt her to smile a little? Perhaps the cooler than cool attitude is just her shtick, but it left me wondering whether she really wanted to be there!
Next week I’m seeing Carole King and James Taylor and The Swell Season. These softer, more acoustic driven concerts are my niche, but it was exciting to step out of that comfort zone this weekend and experience something new. Bacardi Express put on an excellent show, and while not every band was my cup of chai I had a great time tasting them.
Image source: Lauren Katulka
One comment to “Bacardi Express @ Newcastle Panthers, 27 March 2010”
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