The Rocketsmiths
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The Rocketsmiths

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Reported by: rocknrolleddie - Thursday, Aug 31, 2006. 04:27

Deep-Fried Southern Boogie. While this doesn’t accurately describe the sound of The Rocketsmiths, who sound more like a meld of bluegrass and 60’s garage rock, it is a cool way to start an article, and nevertheless judging by their performance tonight the Rocketsmiths would no doubt excel at that style should they choose to. The Zoo was already surprisingly full and the mostly-female crowd was very receptive to what this Brisbane band had to offer – which was quite a lot. This five-piece supplied three capable frontmen for the audiences consumption and together with their incredibly danceable rockabilly and boogie beats, the triple-chorus worked wonders on the crowd. This, combined with the inspiring on-stage dancing antics of the rhythm guitarist Dominic and the rock licks of skillful lead guitarist Ian made for a successful impression, the audience obviously diving into the rhythm as we clapped along and yelled back the choruses on request. Closing their set with a jumpin’ hoe-down number, they exited the stage after a flurry of boot-scootin’.

The Zoo suddenly became packed, and the front of the crowd became very tight in the wait for We Are Scientists. The Zoo, always a fantastic venue with excellent sound, is known to have a fun and friendly crowd, however an unusual assortment of drunk men began forcing their way through the female fans, causing more than a few yelling matches. This continued into the set and was an unfortunate distraction.

The venue kept filling up in the interim and the emo-punk background tunes that were pumping through the PA ended abruptly when the trio We Are Scientists took to the stage. Everyone quickly noticed The Grates shirt sported by singer Keith and the life-size inflated wallaby brought on stage by bass player Chris, who informed us he had named it ‘Bruce’. (As an aside, I couldn’t help but notice Chris’ likeness to The B-52’s Fred Schneider.)

While We Are Scientists are incredibly funny guys and got very loose talking to the audience in between songs, they were tight and serious once a tune began, showcasing their very en-vogue sound that so many New York bands are using to take over the world (a short list would include Le Tigre, Interpol, The Rogers Sisters, The Rapture, The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs…) As soon as they grabbed their gear on stage they busted into album track ‘Lousy Reputation’ which, nearing the end, sneakily became a medley with hit single ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ (characterised by lyrical turn “My body is your body/ I wont tell anybody/ If you want to use my body, go for it”).

One thing that We Are Scientists showed tonight that set themselves apart from their countrymen was their lack of pretension, obviously holding an attitude of not taking themselves too seriously. Given the fact that they are incredibly creative and masterful musicians (I especially like how the drums and bass create more for the song rather than follow the downbeat and melody) it makes them very likeable people. They took the time to jostle each other during on-stage banter, including one example

Chris: “…I’m getting this great shampoo smell up here, its so fruity and nice”
To which Keith immediately turns around “Well! I haven't bathed in 6 weeks, and still this is my smell. This is how I smell"
Chris: "oooh.. I know how you smell” and Chris gives the audience a look full with innuendo - and we laugh as Keith fails a witty reply. (Minutes later, Keith threatens to kill Chris’ beloved Bruce, and then he soon makes a joke simultaneously referring to Chris’ attractions to animals and inflated objects)
Very impressive was the bands ability to master the 3 part vocals live, alongside complex instrumentation (it sounded as slick as on record, to my surprise), especially Keith’s guitar work. In short, the band sounded incredible.

There was unmistakable mosh pit rocking during the majority of the W.A.S. set. Not only did it make me notice how strong their (only) LP is, but it also made me dance like a crazy man. The band belted out a cover of The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ halfway through the set, then told us how much they loved the Grates and Australia. We were treated to a yet-unreleased song near the end of the set, ‘Tonight, Tonight’, apparently about a girl called Storm who was in the audience at the time. The crowd were still leaping when they closed with single ‘The Great Escape’. There was no encore, despite loud cries and many, many fans sticking around. There is only a certain amount a band can play with one album behind them, but nevertheless, its always worthwhile to see these kinds of bands around the time they start off – too late on and many bands are ‘over’ the novelty of performance and find things like relating with the audience and on-stage dynamics tired and cliché. For some reason though, I can’t forsee that with We Are Scientists. You only have to visit the ‘Advice’ - fasterlouder.com.au


The Presidents of the United States of America are a very popular band in Australia, their music seemed to have hit a note that resonated with fun loving Aussie audiences. Consequently, on this Saturday night a unusually big crowd were waiting, excited, in front of the Zoo and along Ann Street before doors opened.

Two local support acts played for the quickly swelling audience. First up was Guy Webster. Why? Who knows. He must be related to whoever does booking for the Zoo. Either that, or he was a business decision to get the audience bored, talkative and buying drinks. His style (basic singer-songwriter) was exactly what not to have supporting the eccentric, over-the-top Presidents. It put a damper on the incredible excitement most of the ticket buyers had to see the main act and somewhat ruined the pre-show atmosphere. His set was way too long, and was mostly characterised by the crowd trying to talk over the PA.

When Guy Webster finally finished, The Rocketsmiths filled out the stage as they played The Final Countdown. It's no lie, they do 'Rock It'. Their songs are wrapped around catchy choruses and lots of interaction with the crowd. The Rocketsmiths could be pretty accurately described as "The Wiggles for adults". Which is a good thing. They throw all their energy into the show, with three singers pulling off big harmonies and handing the singing back to the audience in call-and-response games. The rhythm guitarist was particularly excited, yelling to the crowd that The Presidents of the USA was the first CD he ever bought. Soon after that, he broke his G-string. He didn't care though, the band kept rocking out their garage-rock tunes, G-string or no G-string. They did a great job as a support act and finished their set with finesse, appreciated and looking pretty pleased with the show.

The crowd grew restless waiting for the Presidents to take the stage, stomping, screaming and chanting

a mix of 'U-S-A! U-S-A!', 'PRE-SIDENTS!' and 'PUSAAAA!'.

Without warning, an announcement came over the PA, a booming voice telling us to be awed, and be prepared, for the PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The band came on stage in their CIA black ties and immediately stared the audience down as massive cheers erupted, kicking into Video Killed the Radio Star. When they finish, they play hit Kitty, lifting three (very excited) girls from the front row up to the stage to sing 'Meow!' in the verses.

An interesting side note, for whatever reason Chris the singer plays a two-stringed bass, and Andrew-- the guitarist plays a three-string guitar. What they may lack in strings however, they make up for in showmanship and crazy stage antics. The two frontmen leap around the stage, do synchronised windmill guitar hits, and play noise games with each other. The best thing about seeing the Presidents play, is the fact that they are a 100% rock and roll band. They never slow down or sing ballads - The intensity stays high for the whole show. Nearing the end of the set the crowd were worn out from dancing and moshing, so the band decided to sit down. They told the whole audience to sit down – and they all did. The crowd relaxed for a brief and amazing minute with the band. The band then rose up again and played favourites Peaches and ‘Kick out the Jams. The PUSA are natural performers. It was impossible to not be swept up. They had a brief break before a inevitable encore that finished with the ironic We’re Not Gonna Make It and huge cheers.

Their set was 21 songs long and only 4 of the songs were from their (great) newest album ‘Love Everybody – The Presidents were playing for the fans and chose their songs perfectly. The band shook everyone’s hand as they left. Without doubt, a fantastic rock and roll show by a very charismatic band. - fasterlouder.com.au


THE ROCKETSMITHS, YVES KLEIN BLUE, THE JOHN STEEL SINGERS, INNTOWN

The Zoo: 29.06.07

There's a subtle yet noisy crowd in The Zoo for tonight's early start: there are four bands to get through after all, and the punters are bouncy already. Local five-piece Inntown provides the perfect opening for the night with their country-tinged, accessible pop sensibilities, and most importantly some mighty fine tunes. The musicianship is flawless and the showmanship and chemistry between the band members is a pleasure to watch.

The John Steel Singers are next, delivering a quirky indie-pop sound that also has hints of country laced throughout. The songs of this band are as energetic and infectious as hell, falling somewhere between Johnny Cash and Modest Mouse. One could be almost forgiven for thinking that 'Submarines And Kayaks' will morph into the 'Pink Panther Theme' at any second. Oh, and they have brass!

Next up is local "it" band Yves Klein Blue, who look good, sound great and are an immensely talented young rock band. But they need a hook somewhere in that excellent - if slightly unoriginal - set of theirs. 'Polka' is a great tune and gives us the most to take away from tonight. These lads are definitely worth watching, but there are distinct hints that they are capable of so much more.

Certainly not suffering from lack of hooks are The Rocketsmiths, who leap onto stage to the bass-throb of 'Augustine'. The boys build the buzz nicely, throwing all the bells, whistles and indie-stage trickery at the wall to prove that this is, indeed, a very special show for them. There's a choir, fancy light show and special guest appearances from Cuthbert & The Night Walkers, and a trumpet-playing member of the Blackwater Rhythm Co. Visually the boys are a testament to what a live band should be - their chemistry is excellent, their energy amazing and Dom Miller really is the consummate frontman, even if he does resemble Jack Black while pulling out all the stops to entertain. In terms of songs, single 'Modern Life' is excellent, but 'A Good Example Of A Cliché Love Song' is the money and provides a sing-along en masse.

BEN PREECE - Timeoff


This second EP from local lads The Rocketsmiths portrays a band exuding a strong sense of confidence in their art. Jumping out of the gates with a bang with opening track and lead single 'Modern Life' and the rockabilly punch of 'Worth It', the quintet never look back, excitingly fusing rockabilly licks, swinging keys, and pop charm. The sweet, hook-laden country ballad 'A Good Example Of A Cliché Love Song' and its distant, more upbeat cousin 'Some Time Of Mine' are both instantly pleasing.

(Justin Grey) - Timeoff


Meet Horace and Clyde is a strange mixture of musical styles. Predominantly pop but with a healthy dose of alt country and indie, The Rocketsmiths have produced an E.P. that is unique.

Single Modern Life is probably the highlight. With a slightly Oz vocal delivery, it’s a quirky pop number with and almost punk edge. Upbeat guitars, a killer trumpet melody and plenty of “ba, ba, ba’s,” make this the obvious single.

The Brisbane boys show their country flare on Worth It. All hard hitting acoustic guitars and rollicking drums, it’s another standout.

Rocketsmiths are obviously a band that prides themselves on a wacky, quirkiness – it can sometimes be their downfall. Fake Vegas documents their love for the Queensland capital, while, A Good Example of a Cliche Love Song, is unfortunatley just that. A little bit to much of the ridiculous, goofy vibe detracts from the band’s sincerity and, at times, damages some potentially decent tracks.

Clearly The Rocketsmiths can play, and when they aren’t doing the whole outrageous personality thing there’s some good music being made. At times Horace and Clyde is testament to this. A worthy E.P. with some feel good hits. An album from these guys would be very interesting. - fasterlouder.com.au


Discography

June, 2007 - Meet Horace And Clyde EP
2006 - Act One. Scene One. EP
Also streaming live on www.therocketsmiths.com

Photos

Bio

Picture yourself in an abandoned theme park. The rollercoaster is dilapidated, the merry go round a collection of twisted metal and cobwebs. The big top still stands, although shabby and dirty, in the middle of the park. Suddenly, the old tent lights up and strange music booms from the inside, cutting through the humid night air. A constant, throbbing beat grows faster as you run towards the thin streak of light shining from the entrance. The music seems to encompass everything around you; the decaying carnival, the deep night and the long grass brushing past your legs. There is no hint of danger as you burst through the tent flap and into the bright surrounds of the Big Top’s interior. Standing on a stage in front of you are five young men with powerful voices and a sound like no other; they are Rocketsmiths.

Brisbane’s Rocketsmiths are one of the best up and coming bands in the Australian music scene at the moment and recent times have proven why. After releasing their second critically acclaimed EP, “Meet Horace and Clyde” in July 2007, the band have gone from strength to strength all over the country after a series of impressive tours, support slots and incredibly exciting and energetic headline shows. The past 18 months have seen them share the stage with the likes of We Are Scientists (USA), Presidents of The United States of America (USA), Juliette And The Licks (USA), British India, Operator Please, The Whitlams, The Gin Club, Little Red, The Boat People, Bluejuice, The Paper Scissors, The John Steel Singers, Yves Klein Blue and Cuthbert & The Night Walkers as well as being booked for both The Valley Fiesta and Festival Of The Sun playing alongside Gotye, Butterfingers, and Clare Bowditch.

Playing a style of music that has been dubbed everything from “Carnie Rock” to “Vaudevillian Indie Rock Popabilly”, The Rocketsmiths sound (and play) like no other band in the Australian music scene and their latest EP, which was released nationally through MGM in July last year, is just a taste of what this amazing band from Brisbane are capable of. With songs like the catchy and energetic Modern Life (which received good airplay on national youth broadcaster, Triple J), the frantic rockabilly-esque track, Worth It and the upbeat ballad, Some Time of Mine, this band showcase what is best about the Brisbane music scene right now; a unique, upbeat and exciting sound.

With bigger, better and more intricate new songs being written at a frantic pace by the band with a change in direction not foreseen by anyone including the boys themselves, the Australian music scene will be waiting with bated breath for The Rocketsmiths’ next EP which has just been recorded with ARIA award winning producer Magoo and is set for release in October 2008 with a buzz about the new release already evident throughout the industry.

This energetic, exciting and extremely unique band are certainly ones to watch over the next 12 months with their style of music that is energetic yet restrained, quirky yet mature and hip yet totally uncool.

“These boys looked like they were about to explode from the amount of fun they were having onstage, and each song just got louder and faster and crazier. They definitely warmed the crowd up and stole the show for the night… The songs were all catchy and captivating and all these wonderful things that make it impossible to tear your eyes away for a second, and when their final song, “Tale of Two City Boys” ended, it was a little sad.”
(Fasterlouder.com.au)

“There's something really special about this track (Modern Life). I was pulled in at the very first verse and totally won over by the chorus. It's old school lo-fi rock with a bouncy brit edge. Great sing-along melodies, a couple of nice stops, some bop ba bahs and rockin' guitar riffs. The rest of The Rocketsmiths' EP is good - but this is really great!!”
(Dan Buhagiar – Triple J)

“Fun, distorted vocals and pure pop… This is a tops song and one you want to sing along to.” (Zan Rowe, Triple J)

“You'd be hard-pressed to find a more consistently entertaining or engaging local act than The Rocketsmiths. EP favourites Worth It and Modern Life are attacked with panache and gusto, while material from their October-due second EP is nothing short of impressive. Keep an ear out.”
(Andrew McMillen – Rave Magazine)

“Their sweet pop-inspired-punk-meets-country sound had the 400-plus crowd having a good ol’ shin-freaking-dig… they sure do know how to command a crowd and form allegiances.”
(Rachel Surgeoner – Rave Magazine)

For more information on The Rocketsmiths please contact Dominic Miller (Manager) on 0418 151 402
or dominicmillermanagement@gmail.com and visit… therocketsmiths.com Or myspace.com/therocketsmiths