JACK RABBIT SLIM’S
Review by Chantal Mary
As someone who hasn’t seen Gyroscope for over ten years, I was excited to see what new tricks had been added to their repertoire onstage. Shows have been selling out across the country not only because it’s their first release since 2010 album Cohesion (excluding the single release of Crooked Thoughts in 2017), but also, sadly their drummer Rob Nassifs’ last tour with the band. Undoubtedly fans such as myself were wanting a last chance to see Nassifs’ charismatic smile behind his enigmatic sound. I had a feeling they would pull out all the stops for the 4YRLV EP tour in tribute of their companion of over 20 years.
The night started out with the first support act; local grunge legends PPHP (Pot Plant House Party). Despite the venue still being relatively empty at this stage, these four Perth boys weren’t discouraged and brought a tonne of energy to the stage. They had guest guitarist Tom Wilson filling in for them which I didn’t realize until after as he fitted in like he had played with them a million times before. Their high intensity guitar riffs and uninhibited vocals soon filled the room with an anticipated excitement for the main act and towards the end of their set the room had filled up considerably more. They made a lot of sense being chosen to pre-empt Gyroscope and I was really happy to see local talent given a chance to expand their fan base and get some recognition. They had a really natural feel playing together and gave shout outs to the proceeding support act as well as Gyroscope, saying that they were “bloody legends”, before exiting the stage.
The second support act was two piece Fyre Byrd from Adelaide. This young and upcoming duo who only formed in 2017 has already been making a huge name for themselves and was currently on an international tour for their single ‘Take Me Out’. As they walked onstage the first thing you ascertain is that they look the part, both donning a local Adelaide brand, ‘Bratty” they were trying to promote on their tour of the globe.
Vocalist/guitarist, Samtre has a distinctive new age pop punk sound and undeniable stage presence, but the thing I couldn’t stop watching was the animalistic styles of female drummer Breeze. Despite being rather slight in figure she could hit the drums with huge force and skill, at one point standing on top of the bass drum while still playing with one hand. They opened with their single ‘Take Me Out’ which really set the tone and scene for their act. They had a bit of a White Stripes vibe due to the fact that they were sans a bassist, but Samtre made up for it untilising his foot pedals almost as another instrument. The crowd continued to bolster up with the aid and encouragement of the front man continuously calling out “I can’t hear you!’, at one point even turning his guitar over to display it written on the back. Both of their enthusiasm and natural stage presence left the crowd eager and wanting more. All in all, a great segway into Gyroscope.
After the two well picked and dynamic support acts the tension in the crowd was at boiling point as they started the chant ‘Gy-ro-scope, Gy-ro-scope’. As I weaved my way through the crowd (with difficulty) I noticed the eclectic assortment of people who form the bands cult following in Perth. From old school fans who have followed them since their beginnings in ‘97, to the young enthusiastic fans who appreciate them now, I could tell they were going to give them the hometown welcome they deserved. As they walked onstage it was as I expected – the crowd went nuts screaming out things like “We love you Rob!” and “Don’t leave us!”. They each took their places – Zoran Trivic on guitar, Brad Campbell on bass, Daniel Sanders as lead vocalist/guitarist and our beloved Rob Nassif behind the drums for maybe the last time for us. They got into it straight away with Aria winning single ‘Doctor, Doctor’ off their first album Sound Shattering Sound, which is such a well known classic that it had everyone singing within seconds. It was the perfect way to open for a Perth crowd, and as Sanders’ far more grungey vocals filled the room we were on our way to an immersive experience with the band. Gyroscopes’ post-grunge hard-rock sounds have translated and evolved unwaveringly over time that the crowds extremely energetic response was no surprise. After the first track Sanders pulled off his shirt, scrunched up his now unkempt locks and said a warm welcome to his hometown with the aid of Trivic.
Sanders’ became more and more uninhibited as the show went on, at on point crowd surfing as the crowd screamed out the lyrics for “4YRLV” in his place. The bands camaraderie and fluidity as a unit really exemplified how they have stayed together for over 20 years. During the song “Safe Forever”, Sanders’ replaced the Lyrics ‘I did it for you girl’ with ‘I did it for you Rob’, while standing on his drum kit and affectionately grabbing his head in his hands. It just shows how loved their drummer was by them and that obviously he is leaving on good terms. It was a beautiful display to witness.
Each different track brought the same extreme enthusiasm and involvement from the crowd and when they merged ‘Fast Girl’ with Midnight Oils’ ‘Beds Are Burning’, I didn’t see one person in the room who wasn’t singing along. Though it was the heroic single ‘Snakeskin’ that got the largest reaction. Arguably their most well known song that transcends the diverse age groups that their fans consist of. As the show came to an end and the last notes of the guitar were ringing out, the band came together for a group hug onstage which gave me, and probably everyone else in the room, the melancholy feeling of goodbye. The crowd gave rob a beautiful send off and as he walked off stage his smile was still intact.
To be able to see the band during this last tour of Rob Nassif, I felt like I was part of Perths send off party for the much loved drummer. It was a memorable show for both the fans and the band themselves and i’m excited to see what’s in the next chapters of their careers.