Frenzal Rhomb – The Tanks Arts Centre

Australia has always had a way of making fun of ourselves and others in a way that is probably unique to this place. After all, had we not developed a dark and brutal sense of humour , we probably would not have made it to here and now. This is rarely more apparent than at a Frenzel Rhomb show..

The show opened with a set from Australian Punk stalwarts, The Meanies, who have a devoted hardcore following. Touring their latest album ,”Desperate measures”, they showed that time has not dulled their edge, with a fast paced , straightforward delivery of new and old material.

Then Frenzel Rhomb took the stage.

Their set opened with a rendition of “When will I be loved ?” the classic Linda Ronstadt tune, that was brilliantly tongue in cheek, then continued with, “Where drug dealers take their kids,” short, punchy and as tight as a fish’s, and songs like, “She only wants me for my bucket bong” and, “So much fun.” The onslaught of fast paced Aussie Rock n Roll observational comedy was broken only by the exchanges between band members and, at some stages, the audience. That was nearly worth the admission price alone.

Putting a loud, fast, high energy punk band inside a tank does not sound like a great idea on the face of it, but the sound at The Tanks is as good as it gets, and the light show was spectacular. The venue is so completely unlike any other, and the experience of performing there would have to be memorable for any touring act.

The rhythm section was as tight as any around, and it’s not hard to tell that these guys have been on the scene for a long time.

The real surprise, was the precision of the vocal harmonies. Its not often that bands of this genre pay huge attention to vocal performance, but the vocals were delivered incredibly well, without compromising the aggression that is necessary to give this style of music street cred. The material from their latest album, “The cup of pestilence” was not a great departure from previous works, and they have lost none of their energy over the last 4 decades . “Hospitality and Violence”, “How to make Gravox” and “Old Mate Neck tattoo” being the standouts for myself at the end.

The encore lasted for four songs, delivering the tunes that made them a force back in the 90s, finishing with, “You are not my friend”, which was probably their most radio friendly creation.

Cairns has a dedicated punk following, and a lot of them were there, including members of local punk bands and other familiar faces. The response to both acts was enthusiastic and loud, as you would expect, with people travelling from the Atherton Tablelands, Innisfail, Mt Garnet and Townsville to catch the show. Many had attended as much for the support act as for the main show.

Frenzal Rhomb has to be one of the best live performers of their genre, engaging, friendly, humorous and unpretentious.

All in all, a top rate performance from a band that I would recommend to any hard rock enthusiast!

Pic by Noel Keid

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