Kingswood are three songs into their set and while the luxury of space here indicates that perhaps this show is a little undersold, the enthusiasm from those who’ve gathered is entirely contagious. The show kicked off in a fit of strobe lights with set opener All Too Much and one of the most striking observations is that these guys sound EXACTLY the same live as they do on their album.
Quite different to the usual throng of jumping and bobbing heads at many a live gig, there’s a little dance floor cleared at the front and plenty of gestic expression taking place. It’s a devoted gathering for this magnetic four-piece with their impressive manes, Linacre being the clean-cut one by comparison. He’s wearing a Brittany Spears tank top and this in itself may just be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
Stage left Alex Laska is a constantly thrashing charge of energy while bassist Jeremy (Mango) Hunter to the right is his polar opposite, taking on the calm facade of a bemused Jesus.
As the gritty riffs of Sucker Punch scour the atmosphere, Linacre raises the mic into the air as if to check it’s real as the crowd goes apeshit. Justin Debrincat channels Animal from The Muppets with his crazed convulsive presence and the throng before them becomes denser as people seem to appear from nowhere.
I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me, as expected is a total show-stealer and I’m surprised to learn that it’s actually Laska on lead vocals for this one. This is one seriously talented dude who also owns the sultry guitar solo here. He’s entirely captivating to the point where I reckon I could see a whole Kingswood gig almost without noticing anyone else up on that stage. He croons the room into a seductive trance and the song wraps up with an obedient audience chanting “feeeel…. looove” along with him.
There’s a slight glitch as sound troubles see us missing some of Linacre’s love advice at one segue. Something about romance and what sounds like a step-by-step guide on how to go in for the kiss. It’s this sort of witty banter throughout that makes you feel at home at a Kingswood gig and everyone in the room laps it up..
Perhaps the highlight of the night though is the tribute to First Aid Kit; “They’re so lovely we’re gonna cover one of their songs”. It’s a gorgeous version of My Silver Lining and a total crowd pleaser with plenty singing along. Somewhere in here Laska says “we don’t have much time so we’re just gonna stop talking shit and play fucken music for you”. They do so for a while, and Medusa completely exhilarates to the point where even Zen-like Hunter is a horsewhip of energy.
It’s not long before the wisecracks are back though. Thanks go out to the first band of the evening before touring-support act Sinking Teeth (who were totally mind-blowing and worthy of their own entirely separate review) get a playful dissing. “Today one of them boasted he’s never given to charity”.
The guys are often compared to Queens of The Stone Age so when a very authentic version of Feel Good Hit Of The Summer stealthily makes its way into this set it’s a cheeky yet welcome bonus. Laska is still charming the room. He pipes up and addresses a girl in the crowd. Shianne (I think?) speaks her name into the microphone and we’re told she’s just had all her hair cut off and to give her a big round of applause.
It’s pretty darn clear that everyone is stoked with Ohio as a closer for the evening. Linacre leans the mic into the audience so individuals can try their hand at emulating his banshee howls for “You can stay a little longer…”. The song accelerates in speed into an almost new country “yibidiyibida!” version of itself and is consummated by a looooong stretch of reverb.
A reluctant dissipation of this satiated gathering follows, and it’s a bloody tough act for the nightlife of Wollongong to follow.