The Blackwater Fever don’t just play you their songs, they burn them into your mind. Taking their cue from a prime selection of rock influences, the trio casually rip out dark bluesy rock that sounds absolutely huge for just three performers.
It sounds hyperbolic but it’s true. The moustachioed bassist is so rock and roll that his guitar hangs down by his knees whilst he plays, with complete ease. And, whether the band’s choice or a deliberate placement by The Zoo, an internal light illuminates the kick drum through a translucent pattern on the front. I wasn’t high, but believe me it was really cool to stare at.
But enough of visuals, let’s talk music. The band draws you in straight away with some of their punchier songs. If you were standing at the back of the room, you soon found yourself amongst a mini exodus to the alluring stage lights. In fact, most of the songs could be described as ‘punchy’, but that’s not to say that the trio don’t mix it up. Singer/guitarist Shane Hicks knows how to play with the crowd. There was a particular, mid-set moment involving a drawn out guitar part, laden with sustain. The drummer (Andrew Walter) would drop in hard on the low toms and kick drum. I wasn’t expecting that and it put me on edge, but in a good way. Of course, the band followed this with a smooth transition straight into the verse.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Jed Walters occasionally plonk his bass down mid song, and jump onto a KORG synthesiser. And with such style too; it’s not easy to rock out on keys but Jed sure did. Maybe it’s the moustache (think Ben Stiller in Dodgeball).
Though heavy lyrically, the music was consistently driving, and if you’ve heard any of The Blackwater Fever’s recordings, you know how talented they are at finding a great rhythm. Somewhat disappointingly though, the band were quite reserved. Sure, the singer made the obligatory ‘thank you’ moments, and made a bit of small talk on occasion. But for the sizable crowd they had pulled I expected a bit more interaction. There were songs where I just wanted to scream at them to start clapping with the drums, and motion for the crowd to do the same. We all know those moments, and at this gig we would gladly have done so.
Much of the set came from The Blackwater Fever’s latest album The Depths. Stand out songs for me were ‘Now She’s Gone’ and the fantastic ‘Won’t Cry Over You” which popped up towards the end of the set. It’s still available for free from Bandcamp. You can grab the whole album from there too, or by following the links on the band website.
The trio are off to continue their tour and are back in Queensland on September 6.