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The Volcanics
The Volcanics

Photos by Caris Morcombe

Interviewed by Around The Sound before their album launch, Volcanics’ front man, Johnny Phatouros, told us, “Alex (Megaw, drummer), played most of our last European tour with a busted tendon in his ankle.  He had to be carried on stage and off again after every gig.  People couldn’t believe what he could do behind the drum kit, he’s just amazing!”

‘Top that!’ was what The Caballeros threw down to The Volcanics.  ‘Don’t mind if we do,’ replied The Volcanics as they proceeded to own the stage.

As The Volcanics closed their set on Saturday night, the band members knelt facing the drum riser in worship while Megaw played them out with a blazing drum solo that just about lifted the roof off the Rosemount.  It was a grandstand finish befitting of an arena and showed the esteem in which the rest of The Volcanics hold their unassuming powerhouse of a drummer.

It was a perfect close to a blistering set that leant heavily on tracks from The Volcanics’ fifth album, Black Door, highlighting just what a great album it is, as the live versions stirred the already highly-charged crowd into frenetic movement. 

The Volcanics’ take on garage rock is unique to both them and our fair city, and the equal of any other garage rock proponents in any city, anywhere in the world, during any era.  Here at Around The Sound, we like them a lot.  Fronted by singer, Johnny Phatouros, a fidgety, perseverative magnet of a man, there’s always plenty to attract the eye when The Volcanics are on stage.  One minute he’s holding his head like he’s got a migraine, the next he’s rapidly stroking his nipples and trying to make it look like dancing, and the next he’s holding his hands to the heavens like he’s waiting for a newborn to sacrifice to the gods of thunder. 


And thunder is a pretty apt description of the sound The Volcanics make, with their tumultuous rhythm section of Megaw and Levi Caddy (bass), counterpointing the forked lightning of guitarists Tommy Hopkins and Greg Hitchcock.

It’s explosive stuff and, this night, the people got what they wanted and just that little bit more.  The Volcanics never fail to deliver the goods live.

Supported by The Killer Hipsters, The Tenderhearts and The Caballeros, this night was never going to fail to be entertaining.

Opening the show, The Killer Hipsters showed that they’ve got more than just one of the best band names going around.  Fronted by Christabel Ellis, they warmed up the crowd with their take on rock/punk delivered with tongue-in-cheek sneer and enough musical chops to let you know they really mean it.  Currently working on their second album of original material, The Killer Hipsters are a finely balanced proposition, riding the line between potential and kinetic energy.  You get the sense that they’re just about to blow up and you’d definitely want to be around when they do.

Next up was The Tender Hearts.  Born and christened in a church in Fremantle, The Tender Hearts feature the twin guitars of Nick Sheppard and Greg Hitchcock and the ample vocal talents of US import, Andy Shadburne.  Shadburne has the snake hips and shimmying shoulders of a genuine front man and a voice that belies his slight frame.  This is a very good band working on deciding whether they want to be great.  They play bluesy, sometimes folky, rock and can write and play a ballad that’s fit to break every heart in the room.  By the time they’d finished their short set they were just beginning to cook and what they had simmering smelt so good that we just have to come back for more.  The Tender Hearts demand bigger stages and more time.  They need to headline!

Right before The Volcanics hit the stage, The Caballeros came along to taunt and rabble rouse with their punk-rock approach to some old standards and some standards of their own.  On stage, the Caballeros are a human pinball machine, bumping into each other like rutting stags.  And it’s not a Caballeros show without singer, Jake England, spending a fair bit of time getting up close and personal with the audience.  When England leaps off stage, trailing his mic lead behind him, it’s like shark swimming into a shoal of baitfish, people scatter, but the slow and infirm can’t escape his clutches and the rest soon come back to see what’s happening.  Tonight, England treated the Rosemount’s packed main room to a moment of untrousering while standing on the venue’s bar.  It was a rock and roll moment for the ages, and all the while his band played on.  One day The Caballeros are going to goad each other into some serious misbehaviour and I, for one, want to be there when it happens.

‘Top that!’ was what The Caballeros threw down to The Volcanics.  ‘Don’t mind if we do,’ replied The Volcanics as they proceeded to own the stage.

It was one of the better nights of rock music we’ve witnessed at The Rosemount. No photographers were harmed during the show.

Job done!

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