Review by Gregg Burgess
Photos by Sharon Burgess
Perth favourites The Stems hit he ground running at the Rosemount on Saturday night, having just completed an east coast tour alongside seminal Australian punks Radio Birdman and looked good for the hit out.
Also bringing the west coast feels was a selection of local talent in the form of The Rinehearts, Psychotic Reactions & after a 10-year break, the reformed Jack & The Beanstalk.
The Stems, featuring original members Dom Mariani, Julian Matthews & Dave Shaw looked and sounded as fresh and charged as they ever have, and with the fantastic addition of You Am I’s gun for hire Davey Lane playing the dual guitar role with Dom, left no doubt the cobwebs were well & truly blown out in preparation for their 3 week tour of Europe.
Opening with ‘She Sees Everything’ from their 2007 second album Heads Up, which the boys were there tonight to celebrate/promote with a re-release, It’s hard to believe that a band as influential and widely acclaimed as The Stems, not just locally but internationally, only produced 2 freakin’ albums!
For an outfit that arguably wrote the Power Pop genre, its almost tragic to think of what we might’ve been had the guys not taken a 20-year breather. Regardless, 2 great albums is not a bad legacy to have!
From just those 2 albums, tonight’s show was a solid 90 minutes of everyone’s favourites. ‘Mr Misery’, ‘Move Me’ & ‘For Always’ were some personal highlights with ‘At First Site’ getting the singers in the crowd to join in enthusiastically. ‘Get To Know Me’ & ‘Surround Me’ from the Heads Up album were rippers and a raw version of ‘Make You Mine’ with its morphing into ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ jamming interlude, took us the end of set. And for an encore, ‘Sad Girl’.
The songs are great, and the boys are top musicians, but the proof of the pudding is live. The Stems are next level live. Dave Shaw’s drumming was exceptional and hit like a mule. Dom Mariani & Davey Lane seemed joined at the hip and worked that famous guitar jangle into more of an “amp’s to 11” crunch while Julian Matthews bass work drove the whole groove train from end to encore!
On a side note, Davey Lane is such a perfect addition to the whole Stems feel. He looks like he dropped straight out of a time machine from the 60’s. A commanding stage presence and a total commitment to the show without ever once trying to steal anyone’s spotlight.
Making something difficult look easy is one of the best qualities of any tradesman, and The Stems are masters of their craft. Thousands of bands have come & gone trying to capture that sound The Stems seem to produce so effortlessly, and thousands will continue to try. They just make it looks so damn easy!