Kingswood: Homecoming Tour + Kingswood Lager, Prince Bandroom, Melbourne, November 17th 2023 – Live Review + Product Review

Fresh of the back of their record-breaking Hometowns Tour, Kingswood are back on the road!

Their Homecoming Tour is to celebrate the release of their sixth studio album, ‘The Tale of the G.C. Townes’. But it is more than just music the lads have to celebrate! Kingswood have just launched their newest venture, Kingswood Lager. That’s right! The band now have their very own beer and they celebrated the launch with a special event at Melbourne’s Prince of Wales Hotel.

Having followed Kingswood in the music scene for the best part of 12 years, I never thought I would ever find myself reviewing their brewing capabilities, but I am happy to report, Kingswood Lager is quite a delicious beverage. I don’t normally drink lager, mainly due to the heavy nature of the beer type and tend to lean more towards a pale ale or a cider on those extra warm summer days. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how the Kingswood Lager went down as doesn’t feel heavy at all but still boasts a full 4.5% lager strength. Chatting with Alex Laska of Kingswood, I discovered it is a rice lager, similar to the Japanese beers, lending to the lighter taste of the brew.

I must also congratulate the band on the design and marketing of the product. Presented in a golden can, with their name in big bold letters wrapping around the front, with a lion head profile as the logo, Kingswood Lager is easily identifiable with the band. The name ‘Kingswood‘ is also quintessentially Australian. Not just for the Aussie musicians but also as a historically famous Australian car, leaning into the nostalgia of potential drinkers. The slogan is also clever and catchy, “Have one off the Wood, have a Kingswood”.

Alex Laska also discussed their plans to get the beer into live music venues, with it already available on tap at the Prince of Wales venue. I think it is a fantastic idea, linking the Kingswood Lager logo on tap to the band, to accompany the live music experience is very clever. One thing is for sure, next time I’m down at the Prince, I’m grabbing a pint. And when they are available to purchase from the local cellar, I’ll be grabbing some for home.

With the Kingswood Lager launch done, it was time to get into the music. Kingswood finally hit the stage with Alex Laska on guitar and vocals, Fergus Linacre on guitar, vocals and keys, Josh Koop on drums and Jack Davies on bass. Opening their set with ‘Ohio’, I was surprised. Normally the iconic song saved for an encore or a singalong later in their set. Admittedly, it was refreshing to hear this track up front. It instantly got the crowd warmed up turning the Prince of Wales into a choir within the first chorus.

Performing a couple of their older tracks with ‘Bittersweet’ and their live staple ‘I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me’ these songs had the Melbourne crowd dancing. Laska requested permission from the crowd on whether they could play some country songs because they are now a “Country and Western” band, a cheeky reference to how much their sound has changed over the years. Kingswood then performed ‘Home’ and ‘Mercy’ from their previous album ‘Home’.

About half-way though the set, Ferg announced they had just launched their beer and asked the audience if anyone didn’t like it. One patron in response raised their hand and Ferg jokingly asked them to leave the venue which was received with resounding laughter.

Some more of the older tracks on the set were ‘Golden’, ‘Creepin’’ and more recent track ‘Burning Holes’. Each were well received with Melbourne crowd singing back at the top of their lungs which impressed Kingswood who then gave the audience their own applause. However, it was the newer tracks that surprised me with ‘Movin’ On’ and ’Little Red Jumpsuit’. Laska dedicated the latter to a Rosie Matthews; an individual I assumed is not in this world yet but will be soon. A touching moment that was driven home with the stunning harmonies at the end of the track.

Before I knew it, the night was heading towards the end of the evening and Kingswood returned to the stage for an encore. And they returned with gifts! You guessed it, cold, fresh, Kingswood Lager to hand out to the thirsty crowd. Ensuring everyone that got a can, the band then gave a little toast and cheers to the launch of their lager and the rest of their Homecoming Tour.

The band ripped into one of their heavier tracks ‘Sucker Punch’, before bringing the energy back down again with the stunning track and personal favourite ‘Big City’. Whilst they closed out the set with another classic tune ‘She’s my Baby’ from their first EP, it was the newer additions to the encore that blew me away; ‘One Too Many Times’ from their ‘Home’ LP, has a fun and epic solo and when performed live, it really showcases the Kingswood’s live skills. Easily one of my favourite additions to a Kingswood setlist for the solo alone.

Kingswood have gone from strength to strength over the years, transitioning from Western style with the more Indie Rock feel to their newly discovered Country sound. Although I will always love their older more punchy tunes, it is evident they have really found their home in the country genre.

After following Kingswood for so long, I am impressed by their journey and I cannot wait to see what comes next. But knowing these lads, it won’t be long at all before they come up with something brand new again.

Kingswood performed in Melbourne and had their beer launch on Friday the 17th of November at the Prince Bandroom as part of their Homecoming Tour. They are currently travelling around Australia in their Kingswood Lager bus named Peggy.
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Photography by Grant Alexander.

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