Karnivool – Rock Rover
Saturday 8 June 2019
Photos by Leteesha De Landgrafft
My Saturday night turned out very different to how I’d expected. With plans to see indie-pop princess Jack River falling through, the opportunity to photograph local rock legends Karnivool arose. Given my original plans, I guess you could say Karnivool weren’t my usual concert choice. But I thought: why not! I ditched my floral maxi skirt and flowy red velvet top for black jeans and a denim jacket. Then off to Freo I headed.
Upon arriving at Rock Rover, there were button up flannel shirts and fellow denim jacket wearers galore. The venue was already buzzing, with patrons crowded around the bar and beers flowing freely from the taps. Feeling slightly out of my depth, it was obvious these people weren’t messing around. They were here to rock.
Support act, Southeast Desert Metal, helped set the tone for the night. The four-piece all Indigenous band from the Northern Territory were unashamedly loud and well received by the already packed out venue.
As the technician carried out the sound check metres away from me prior to Karnivool’s set, my ears rang. I really was a rookie to this whole rock concert thing, noting that I’d never heard a kick drum slammed as hard as the one before me. Finally, the members of Karnivool walked out onto the stage, greeted by a deafening applause from the crowd. Karnivool kicked off their set with their song, ‘Change’. Lead singer, Ian Kenny, took the opportunity to get warmed up with some groovy dance moves during the lengthy intro. Kenny’s stage presence was captivating, constantly smiling, neck bobbing and swaying throughout the band’s entire performance.
“Enjoying yourselves, my friends?” Kenny asked the crowd, who screamed back at him in affirmation.
“Wonderful,” he said, chuckling.
But the show was all about the music, with only the rare comment or question between songs. As the night progressed, it became clear to me that rock was a genre that deserved to be experienced live. No gig I’d ever been to could quite compare to the energy of the crowd as fans moshed, screamed out lyrics and threw punches into the air. Fast, hard drums and swirling guitar riffs supported Kenny’s piercing vocals. A man infront of me made his way back from the bar, holding up two very full pints of beer, which sloshed over the sides and showered the people around him, as he manoeuvred his way back to his friend.
“Have we had enough?” Kenny asked. The volume of the crowd’s protesting made it extremely clear they had not.
Karnivool played ‘Themata’, their most popular song with a casual 4.5 million streams online, before exiting the stage.
But the crowd had not used up all of their energy just yet. They clapped and chanted for “one more song”. Karnivool left them hanging a cheeky while longer than most acts would dare to, before returning to the stage to more deafening cheers.
“Thanks for tonight everybody. We’ve enjoyed ourselves and we hope you have too,” Kenny said, before diving out into the audience during the final song for some crowd surfing and high fives.
Karnivool, consider me converted. Your concert was the loudest I have ever experienced, but my muffled hearing the following day was definitely worth it.