Kingswood at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, November 27, 2020 – Live Review

It has been 259 days since there was live music in Melbourne. Back on Friday the 13th of March, in what seems like forever ago, Kingswood performed at The Corner Hotel as part of their ‘Juveniles Tour’, and had joked about it being the last rock gig before the end of the world. They weren’t exactly wrong.

After that night, things began to change due to Covid restrictions and we haven’t had live music in Melbourne since. This all changed recently on Friday the 27th of November, where Kingswood decided to bookend themselves, returning to The Corner Hotel as part of ‘The Reveries Tour’. It is either that, or the band really have been sitting on stage the whole time (jokingly stated by Kingswood), waiting and biting their time with pub chips, until they could perform live again.

Kingswood’s ‘The Reveries Tour’, titled after their reimagined 4th studio album released in October, is a stripped back recreated version of their 3rd studio album ‘Juveniles’, which was released earlier in March. As such, it is no surprise that ‘The Reveries Tour’ would continue that stripped back theme with an intimate and laid-back show.

For the show, the venue is adorned with fairy lights all over the ceiling and on the stage, along with two screens on either side projecting a black and white short film created by Kingswood member Fergus Linacre. The short film displays a Woody Allen-like throwback to the band’s European 2018 tour (accompanied along with the tunes of Ella Fitzgerald), and help to create an intimate romantic setting at The Corner Hotel. At the same time, the pre-show short film ironically projects what life once was before the world changed.

Although we can’t have a crowded gig any time soon, what we can have instead are tables that can be booked in seats of 2, 4 and 6, which is great because you no longer have to rush to get to the venue on time to make sure you get a good spot. You are guaranteed a table regardless and the tables are spaced out in a way that is Covid safe for all. Instead of standing all night, you get to chill at your table with drinks, while artists are reunited with fans and get to do what they love again. And despite this being a way that we may need to enjoy live music for the time being, the environment perfectly set the mood of Kingswood’s tour, and I personally quite enjoyed the unique intimate atmosphere.

In case you were worried that the show would make you want to get up and dance when you’re meant to be seated, fear not. Kingswood have their seats as well, with chilled-out vibes, cowboy hats (except Braiden Michetti in a fedora) and are ready to relax and play for you, while making you feel like you’ve travelled to an American country barn without ever needing to leave your seat. You also don’t have to worry about getting up to buy merchandise, as ‘merch menus’ are provided to your table, and you only have to tick a box to decide on which Kingswood merchandise you want to purchase.

It has been 259 days not only for us music lovers who have yearned to see live music again, but it’s been 259 days for Kingswood as well. So, a little of forgotten lyrics here and there and some long-winded funny stories of past times are both forgivable and delightful with how raw and personal Kingswood are.

Kingswood’s ‘Reveries Tour’ is quite special, as fans get to hear their favourite songs reimagined, both from Kingswood’s recent releases this year and from their vibrant discography. ‘Snakepit’ is played in a slow romantic way and is newly titled, ‘Tell Me You Love Me’. In relation to this song, the band shared a proud story of a fan contacting them to have an acoustic version created, so that they can dance to Kingswood at their wedding.

‘Say You Remember’ initially a dynamitic Queen-inspired guitar-licking rock song, has transformed into ‘Remember’, an emotionally reflective and lyrically powerful raw love song. These are only some examples of Kingswood’s transformed tracks, some old tunes even reworked to fit the mood and theme of the show, giving new life and meaning to their existing songs, and all translating beautifully to the live stage. Alex Laska even shared his excitement that he had “waited so long to do this with a live band”, which was teasingly met with a fan heckling for him to “get on with it then”.

On the night, there were also two beautiful covers that Kingswood performed; Fergus Linacre performed a stunning rendition of Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’, and the song ‘Wolf’, originally by Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit, was soothingly performed with lead guest vocals by a very talented Stephanie Greenwood.

While the typical Kingswood gig will always contain playful bickering both between the band members themselves and with the crowd, every show is different and you never know what Kingswood are going to do next, whether it be mixing their setlist up to rearrange the order of the songs they play every night, or even an impromptu unrehearsed song simply just because Alex feels like it. Whatever they do, they always manage to pull it of flawlessly and make their performances feel so natural, enjoyable and effortless.

A highlight off the night would be when the rest of the band leave both Alex Laska and Fergus Linacre alone to perform the song ‘Infinite Tenderness’, otherwise known by its rock title, ‘Cigarettes In Bed’. The song is my favourite track on the ‘Reveries’ album and honestly, it sounds even better live. Both Laska and Linacre harmonise together beautifully, but especially in the song ‘If Only’ or alternately titled ‘Two Hearts’. The band also performed an incredible rendition of ‘Ohio’, which was easily a crowd favourite met with a joyful applause.

If there is one show that you must attend before 2020 is over for good, it has to be one of Kingswood’s gig’s this year as part of their 5 day, 10-show residency (with two shows a day; an early show and a late show) at The Corner Hotel. Not only is it a relaxing and wholesome experience to see Kingswood equally as chuffed to see you, as you are to see them, but who knows when we will have the opportunity to see this great Melbourne rock band in an intimate setting like this again. And if you’re clever enough with your planning, you may even be able to arrange your day where you can see Kingswood support themselves.

Kingswood are playing 10 shows in Melbourne at The Corner Hotel from Friday the 27th of November until Tuesday the 1st of December.
For tickets, visit: https://cornerhotel.com/gigs if you are able to book ahead. Otherwise, limited seats are available at the door.
For more information on Kingswood, visit: https://www.kingswoodband.com

Photography by Grant Alexander.

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