Fresh off the back of the release of their third studio album Juveniles, Kingswood took to the stage at Melbourne’s iconic Corner Hotel in what was described by the band as ‘the final show before the apocalypse hits’. And that is exactly what happened. Not long after this performance, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government implemented shutdowns and unfortunately forced the hand of Kingswood to cancel and hopefully reschedule the remaining dates of the tour.
Following support acts from Ballarat locals Gangz, and Samsaruh, the stage filled with smoke and the lights dimmed raising the crowd’s anticipation tenfold. Kingswood quickly took command of the Corner Hotel with Guitarist Alex Laska kicking it into overdrive with the heavy opening riff of “You Make It So Easy”. Combined with the punchy drums and falsetto vocals from Fergus Linacre, it’s the perfect track to get the crowd pumping. Followed up with a vocal performance from Alex on “Bittersweet” and debut album title track “Micro Wars”, the Melbourne lads had the crowd like putty in their hot little hands.
Kicking into some sing-a-long crowd favourites with “I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me” and “Ohio”, where they invited Kingswood alum Justin Debrincat up on stage to smash it out on the drums. With Josh Joe Koop as their regular drummer, it was great to see Justin back up there again. After a couple of new songs from Juveniles, the band performed another crowd favorite with catchy hit “Creepin’”, complete with the dirty opening bass riff from Braiden Michetti.
Alex and Ferg love to have a chat and tend to have lengthy discussions with the crowd, or at times even just playful bickering amongst themselves. Early in the set Alex was excited to announce that the second single, “Golden” , from their second album, “After Hours, Close to Dawn”, was certified ARIA Gold earlier that day. Later in the set, Kingswood finally performed “Golden” where Ferg jokingly introduced the song with the same story that Alex excitedly shared earlier. It is clear by their banter on-stage that they are extremely close with each other and completely comfortable in a live setting.
Personally, I have been following Kingswood around on the live stage since I first experienced them live when they supported The Living End during the 2012 Retrospective Tour. Having seen them more than 20 times, it comes as no surprise that they are absolutely at home on stage, and even more so, on a local Melbourne stage – their home city. I cannot think of a single show I have left not wanting more, and Friday’s gig was no exception. Closing with a three-song encore, ending with my favourite track off Juveniles, “Say You Remember”, Kingswood left the Corner Hotel elated and hungry for more.
Juveniles is an absolute killer of an album and this tour is likely the best I have seen from Kingswood so far. Kingswood continue to impress me on-stage. Their presence and interaction with the crowd is second to none. Even after the gig, they went straight to the merch table to meet eager fans, taking photos and signing autographs on newly purchased shirts and vinyl records. Kingswood is definitely the best medicine at the moment.
Upon reflecting on the show and the current climate with the COVID-19 pandemic, the shows lighting was dark and the stage was full of smoke. It made it incredibly hard to take photos of, but also had this ominous feeling of impending doom. Although playfully joking about the apocalypse, it definitely felt like the ultimate rock party at the end of the world.
One thing is clear, is that amidst all this hysteria and panic about Coronavirus, the arts and live music industry is at serious risk of collapse. The streets of Richmond were eerily quiet on the way to the gig, but the Corner Hotel was packed full. Kingswood recently shared a heart wrenching open letter on Instagram yesterday, discussing their excitement to tour and their heartbreak of having to cancel. I hope that they join the many artists around the world and perform via livestream to keep the music going.
So, until then; jump online, stream and buy yourself a copy of Kingswood’s new album Juveniles and buy their merch. Because if we cannot see them perform live, we can certainly continue to support these fiercely talented Aussie lads by other means.
For more information on Kingswood visit: https://www.kingswoodband.com
Photography by Grant Alexander.