It’s been said that a night with Antipodean Rock Collective is a chance to interact with some of the best rock n’ roll songs from yesterday and today, and party like there’s no tomorrow. And Thursday night was no exception. Putting on a show that was fun, big and loaded with sweat-dripping enthusiasm, Antipodean Rock Collective (ARC) played a cosy, suburban gig at The Carine tavern; the local pub dedicated to supporting original live music.
In contrast to Kram (Spiderbait) and Davey Lane’s (You Am I) performance at A Day on the Green last weekend, The Carine offered a much more intimate setting. But the audience rocked it that little bit harder. Sly Withers – a local grunge-pop band opened up the evening bursting onto stage with energy and attitude. They were gritty and vibe-setting, getting the audience excited for what was still to come. The all-girl outfit Bells Rapids slotted in after, in an effort to get everyone fired up for ARC. Whilst they weren’t overly impressive, they had an Ali Barter-type style that was kinda cool, but still didn’t quite capture the crowd.
The real fun started when ARC took to the stage – an Australian supergroup of legendary artists; Kram (Spiderbait), Davey Lane (You Am I), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger) and Ash Naylor (Even/RocKwiz – replacing the usual Mark Wilson from Jet). With not much more than a “let’s get fucked up and play rock n’ roll” yelled out from Kram, the Aussie icons got straight into it.
The band, which started out as an excuse to ‘go to Rio, watch the soccer, get pissed and play rock’ roll’ has evolved into one of those feel-good supergroups you would get drunk to on a Friday night. Launching into an 80’s and 90’s setlist, ARC belted out some classics including Paul Kelly Before too Long, AC/DC High Voltage – where Kram’s vocals really rocked hard, and The Sonnyboys Alone with You.
A well-received cover of INXS Never Tear Us Apart showed off a punchier, stronger guitar presence, with a classic psychedelic drum solo by Kram; reminding us why he’s one of Aussie’s best and most charismatic drummers. Distant Sun (Crowded House) created an easy-going atmosphere and ARC continued to rock with splitting energy.
Joking the song was written by Davey Lane, Middleton got the crowd fired up for Powderfinger’s (Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind. Lane took over the vocals with ease and the cover was raw and anthematic, comfortably encouraging the audience into a singalong trance. Lane finished off the song by saying “if that song was sex, then this next one is the cigarette after”, before firing into Under the Milky Way by The Church.
Amongst a constant exchange of smiles between band members, ARC performed a healthy collection of fist-pump songs, with Master Apprentice It’s Because I Love You, AC/DC T.N.T and Split Enz History Never Repeats all making an appearance too. The crowd went ecstatic for Are You Going to be My Girl?, and the band finished up with a somewhat disappointing Easybeats song, I’ll Make You Happy. The boys were quick to leave the stage after, despite the crowd hungry for an encore.
They come across as one of the most relaxed supergroups going around, but ARC are a strong collaboration between seasoned professionals and friends. They were simple yet ridiculously fun; a comfortable jam between good mates. All the same, it was an absolute bummer they didn’t play any Spiderbait songs – especially when Kram was such a hit on stage. By the end of the night though, it was clear the band represented a community of people that simply appreciate each other’s songs. “We’ve pretty much got drunk with everyone we’ve played tonight”, Kram openly admitted to the crowd earlier.
Antipodean Rock Collective are a passionate power-house group that’s entertaining; but shouldn’t be taken too seriously. And this is what makes them the perfect ‘Friday night’ pub band to rock out too. For that reason – they’re sensational.