Kingswood have long been one of my favourite local live acts to see. They are always full of energy and eager to put on the best show possible every night.
Late last year, the Melbourne rockers announced one of the greatest Australian tours in history. Dubbed the Hometowns Tour and kicking off in November 2022, the band are set to perform over 50 shows across the country! And this is only phase one with more shows to be announced! Kingswood even purchased themselves their own tour bus, named it ‘Peggy’, and have kitted it out for life on the road. In February, Kingswood hit their home state of Victoria and on Saturday February 25th, they played at Melbourne’s Croxton Bandroom.
The day prior to the gig, Kingswood released their latest studio album, ’Home’. Suddenly, the name of the tour all made sense! Not only are Kingswood touring the new album, but they were also coming to your hometowns across the country. The home theme continued last night as they celebrated the release of the aforementioned album in their own hometown of Melbourne and I, along with a packed-out audience at The Croxton, were lucky enough to celebrate the release with them.
They kicked into their set with new album title track ‘Home’ that has a sweet acoustic intro played by Ferg before the rest of the band join in. The song perfectly set the mood for the evening of chill vibes and sweet guitar solos. The lads pick up the pace with another new track ‘Mercy’, showcasing the classic rock vocals from Ferg. Continuing to up the pace with ’Sucker Punch’, the energy was palpable. Whilst I was in the photo pit during these three songs, and it was quite the blur, I was beaming with joy watching them perform.
Having followed the band for just over ten years now, they have quite the catalogue of songs at their disposal to perform during their live sets. With a mixture of some of their older hits, with the sweet deep vocals of Alex Laska in ‘I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me’, complete with the signature sexy groove, and more audience participation, to the incredible rock vocals from Fergus Linacre and his amazing falsetto in ‘Ohio’. Not to mention, the two harmonising perfectly during the title track of their debut album, ‘Micro Wars’.
Kingswood’s newer songs are just as good as those from earlier in their career. I love how they have not only matured as songwriters, but they have also appeared to have discovered their new signature sound which is a stunning mix of country and rock music. This new brand of Kingswood is perfectly displayed with their performances of new tracks ‘Good Whiskey’, ‘Mother Did Say’, and ‘One Too Many Times’, complete with another fiery guitar solo from Alex, and a full band jam session to close out the song.
If the new album tracks were not enough to get excited about, Kingswood surprised the Melbourne audience with one song that I had not heard before. There were no setlists of the show, so I am unsure what the exact title is of the song is, but I believe it might be called ‘Red Jumpsuit’. Consisting of more of those perfect vocal harmonies, I absolutely loved it. But Alex stated that it was a track off their next album and picked up on the confused silence from the crowd. Continuing with the explanation, whilst Kingswood had just released new album ‘Home’, there is still plenty more to come and they were already working on the next record, which this new song is from. If it is anything like ‘Home’, I am bloody keen for it!
There was so much to love about this gig. Everything about it was quintessentially Kingswood, complete with the classic Alex and Ferg banter that I always look forward to during their live shows. They were even passionately discussing amongst themselves about what song to play next and whilst Ferg and Josh Koop on the drums were discussing what to kick into, Alex made the choice for them, and they had no choice but to join in.
The biggest highlight of the entire set would have to be their new tune and first single off ‘Home’, titled ‘Burning Holes’, an absolutely stunning, loving, and heartbreaking song that has been making its way up the list of my favourite Kingswood songs. Alex’s sweet vocals have a way of just getting beneath my skin and making my heart so full. The stunning harmonising from the entire band, live on stage, had my heart overflowing. The celestial references in the song are so grand that it speaks to the immeasurable size of the love you have for those closest to you. It is easy to see how much this song means to the whole band and I hope they keep it on every set from now on.
Before heading into the final stages of their Melbourne gig with ‘Creepin’’, the band thanked the incredible support acts that opened for them. Proclaiming how much of an honour it is to perform with them. Sydney band Salarymen who are about to embark on their first trip to the US for SXSW, along with Katie Bates and fellow Melbournians Cry Club, all had killer sets. I am thankful that I arrived as soon as the doors opened so that I could experience these new artists for the first time. If it were not for support bands, I would never have discovered Kingswood all those years ago supporting The Living End.
After leaving the stage, it wasn’t long before the excited Croxton crowd began to chant “One more song”. Alex appeared on stage dancing back and forth to the beat of the chant before picking up his guitar to a thunderous cheer. Alone on stage, Alex started to play one of my favourite songs, ‘Big City’, with the rest of the band joining in after the first verse.
Not only did we get one more song, we got four! ‘Big City’, ‘She’s My Baby’ and ‘Cigarettes in Bed’. With Ferg thanking the audience and the support acts one more time after the third, taking off his guitar and heading off stage, Alex overruled and smashed into the heavy opening riff of ‘Medusa’, complete with Jack Davies on bass requesting everyone to get down low and jump up as they ripped into another jaw dropping jam session to end the evening.
Every year, Kingswood continue to grow and evolve as songwriters, musicians, and performers. It is clear that they are at home on stage and I too felt at home with them. I love live music and I am truly thankful that I get to experience bands like Kingswood rip it up on stage amongst other likeminded people. I honestly cannot wait for them to come back to Melbourne again. Who knows, maybe phase two of this already jam-packed tour will see them return to their home city later in the year?
Also, don’t be afraid to hang out after the show because the lads love to meet their fans, have a chat, and take photos. I think this may be why I love this band so much because they appreciate their fans just as much as the fans appreciate their music.
Kingswood head off to New South Wales at the end of next week as part of their Hometowns Tour, making their way up the coast. There are literally too many dates for me to mention, so just head to their website to find a Hometown show near you. This is one tour for the history books, so be sure not miss your chance to be part of Australian music history!
For more information, all upcoming dates, including where to buy and stream their latest album, visit: https://www.kingswoodband.com
Photography by Grant Alexander.