GYROSCOPE with BLINDSPOT, FILTH WIZARD and CRIMEA
Photos by Sheldon Ang
During the middle of the fiery performance, the front man leaps off the stage and onto the crowd barrier, with no shortage of body balancing assistants below, a scene reminiscent of a human tower but without the sobriety. He swings on the venue’s ceiling joists like a larrikin adolescent, displaying disdain for any social graces, an anarchist eschewing the mainstream groove. And, as we’d expect from a 00’s legend, he tethers his guitar to a joist, immortalising his band’s presence and spirit in this venue. On his way down, he breaks through the ceiling as he tries to maintain his balance, a welcome sight for the ravenous crowd baying for blood. It’s an image that will stick in the minds of everyone who was there to witness this performance, an exclamation mark that emphasises his band’s legend status. It’s little wonder that, even a decade since the release of their last album, Gyroscope is still one of the most sought-after live bands across Australia.
The night got underway with some of Perth’s hardest hitters such as Crimea. Within a short period since their formation, they are one of the crowd favourites, dishing catchy hooks and riff such as, Tonight. Filth Wizard was next, a four-piece grunge/punk rock outfit dazzling the crowd with dreamy leads and a solid rhythm section led by Jenna Hardie on bass and the 90-esq hair breathing playing styles of Jess June. The final entrée of the night was Blindspot, “Fair to say we are fucking stoked for this weekend” – indeed it was clearly demonstrated as a punkiest beer drinking, fanfare and ballsy performance.
At exactly 10:05pm, Daniel Sanders (lead vocals), Zoran Trivic (guitar), Brad Campbell (bass guitar) and new drummer Sim Dreja graced the stage, and fine tuned their instruments. It was as if time stood still for the quartet, and like the after burners of a raptor, the electrics ignited the engine room and the rest of the band revved to the red line, as Sanders spun like a whirlwind to the raptures of the crowd – “so does that mean we have defeated Covid!”
‘Don’t Look Now but I think I’m Sweating Blood’ kicked off the night in a high-octane track with some of the most scintillating riffs in the band’s catalogue, followed by ‘Bloodstream’ and ‘Fast Girl’. By now, the revelry was well underway in the upper reaches of urbanisation at The Baltimore, Merriwa located 40km north of Perth.
The night was bound to be the best of Gyroscope, garnering from all four albums – Sound Shattering Sound, Are You Involved, the ARIA chart topping Breed Obsession and Cohesion. The crowd favourite ‘Baby, I’m Gettin’ Better’ was the sing along song of the night. Released in 2010, the single spent fourteen weeks in the top fifty of the ARIA charts. Sanders conveyed the message like he does in the studio version, with passion and utter sincerity, except he creamed with an exceptional grit, perhaps due to honesty in more ways than one, “I swear I’ve drunk enough for both of us tonight”. The track was probably an appropriate anecdote, as earlier in the night, Campbell claimed that “Dan is drunk”, while the lead vocalist has a face in palms moment – in an apparent recovery from an excessive beer fest.
The lead vocalist’s hair was part of his onstage bravado; like curtains, his hair shielded his face, which was barely visible throughout the night. And while most front people engage the crowd through verbal interaction and the occasional jokes, Sanders did it the old school way; plunging into the crowd, trusting the support of his legions of fans who would ensure he wouldn’t end up with broken bones.
The penultimate track was ‘Snakeskin’ from Breed Obsession, perhaps the song of the night to most. Fittingly, the song was written while in hibernation, of which Sanders once said, “the ‘Snakeskin’ is a great representation of our head space and expresses a lot of the emotions and directions we have taken in the creation of our third record. Like a snake shedding its well worn skin, these are the days of our lives.” It is uncanny that we’ve gone through hibernation for a period, and while we are still in technical isolation, we’re close to shedding our skins and move on from 2020.
An obvious omission was their second most successful song ‘Some of the Places I Know’ – only behind ‘Snakeskin’ – which was a little surprising given it was one of the anthems of the 00’s.
Throughout the night, Sanders and the men of Gyroscope delivered the tracks compellingly, filled with gusto and emotional gestures. One may not grasp a definitive interpretation of their lyrics, but that didn’t matter much, as the lead singer explained on ABC’s Rage in 2015 – one should not “focus on lyrics or the ins and outs of our songwriting, but just enjoy.”
Around the Sound spoke with some of the fans and supporting artists after the show, and it is clear that no one could fault the night, and if it wasn’t for the Phase 4 limitation of Covid 19, ticket sales would have smashed the capacity of the The Baltimore many times over, as local Promoter Tom Mantle of Big Tommo Presents explained. Gyroscope chimed, charmed and bedazzled the crowd with exceptional dynamism, the kind of performance that will linger in our memories for a while, further stamping themselves in musical folklore as legends of their generation.