Admittedly, while I have heard of Melbourne alternate rock band, Kingswood due to much praise from my partner (who is probably a super-fan), I had never seen them live until last night at The Night Cat in Fitzroy on Saturday the 2nd of November for their ‘Say You Remember’ Tour. And after seeing them perform live, I honestly have no idea why it took me so long.
Evidently far superior to their talented fellow Aussie support acts, The Jensens and Samsaruh, and after much confusion over the opening of the venue due to conflicting start times, the currently 5-piece band finally took to the stage at 11:30pm.
Exposed in a unique intimate set-up, The Night Cat, usually a jazz venue, contains an island stage that is positioned in the middle of the dance floor – leaving nothing to the imagination. While there is no ‘back-stage’ because the patrons of the venue completely circle and surround the artist when performing, Kingswood appeared completely comfortable in this unique style set-up. If anything, they fed off the audience’s energy; whether it be playfully bickering with the crowd, each other, pulling up a fan on-stage to serenade them “Happy Birthday”, affectionately shouting out to their ‘Kingswood mums’ and the family members that come to support them, or turning the audience into their own personal choir – Kingswood were fearless.
Opening with “Creepin’”, quickly followed by hit “Ohio” from their 2014 ARIA nominated album Microscopic Wars, Fergus Linacre took the vocal reigns, equipped with his fine falsetto. It didn’t even take a minute before the crowd too burst into song to accompany the Kingswood lead vocalist.
Now, what makes Kingswood so attractive is their unique sound due to their duality. During the gig, Fergus Linacre and lead guitarist Alex Laska, depending on the song, took turns to sing lead. I found this surprisingly different and quite captivating. Alex Laska with a lower and deeper vocal register in comparison to his band mate, commanded the stage specifically in tracks, “Big City” and popular single, “ICFTYDLM (I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me)”. Alex showcased smooth pleasing vocals and eloquently written lyrics that cut deep, relatable for anyone who has been in unrequited love.
Sharing new tracks from their untitled upcoming album, including “You Make It So Easy”, which was only released the day before the gig (November 1st), the highlight of the night was when Kingswood performed new tune, “Cigarettes”. Ferg instructed the audience on how to sing along to the new number, and did so effortlessly, that when the crowd were finally confidently singing along to every word, I was almost fooled into believing that this anthem-like instant classic had been around for years.
With a little bit of cheeky banter, laughs and some crowd surfing thrown in from audience members, this sold out gig at The Night Cat was honestly a ball of fun. When Kingswood closed the show with energised new song, “Say You Remember” consisting of cleverly written lyrics, perfect harmonisation and Queen-inspired guitar licks (the tune that inspired the title of their current tour), I couldn’t help but consider a suggestion that Ferg half-jokingly addressed to the crowd. Ferg suggested to ‘not wash your hands’ so that the stamp on your wrist could possibly help you get back into the venue on Monday night for their second sold out show. Kingswood were so great live that I am certain I wasn’t the only one heavily contemplating breaking the rules to see them on-stage again.
While I won’t be doing so (because I don’t want to be a jerk), I will fervently anticipate new music from Kingswood in the meantime. I admit, I finally understand why (and for good reason) my partner was praising Kingswood so much. And although it was my first ever experience seeing this awesome Aussie band live, I am happy to share that it won’t be my last.
For more information on Kingswood, visit: https://www.kingswoodband.com
Photography by Grant Alexander.