Live Review: Kid Congo & The Pink Monkeybirds

9 February 2015 | 9:54 am | Chloe Mayne

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkeybirds provided an all-consuming evening

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Hobart’s Brisbane Hotel was packed to the brim on Saturday night as a throng of fans gathered to witness the infamous Kid Congo Powers on the final show of his Australian tour.

Kid Congo Powers – or, as he’s known off stage, Brian Tristan – has a hugely impressive curriculum vitae tucked beneath his belt. After kicking off his musical dabblings as president of The Ramones’ fan club in the late ‘70s, a chance encounter with Jeffrey Lee Pierce led to his picking up a guitar and forming The Creeping Rituals, which eventually became The Gun Club. While he left the band before their recording debut, he did return to the fray some years later – and not before spending a significant stretch of time with The Cramps in New York, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in Berlin and fleeting appearances with The Fall, The Divine Horsemen and Die Haut in between. This show, then, was met with wide-eyed awe and heightened expectation.

A curious yet mildly uncertain troupe assembled as the final touches to the gear were made and The Pink Monkeybirds launched into an up-step hoedown, toes pulling to a tap as Congo burst onto the stage to join his band. Clearly dissatisfied with the audience input, he demanded they move in closer and they needed little persuading. From there on in, the crowd became more and more frenetic, a tangled moshpit that sucked up more and more limbs until only a thin string of bystanders were left to watch on.

The set traversed a colourful mix of sonic hallways including a number of Gun Club classics. She’s Like Heroin To Me made an early appearance and ensured the mood was rooted firmly in the rock’n’roll garden bed. The band’s own songs were dense and jungly, primal howls interspersed with slowed-down raunchy grooves that dripped with warm guitar. It was during these loose intrumentals that the band really came into their own, playing off one another with an almost instinctual synchronicity.

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The crowd was treated to a new number from an already-polished record to be released later in the year; titled Ricky Ticky Tocky, it was a delightful taste of things to come. After a rendition of Sex Beat that descended into a roaring singalong, Congo all flourish and flair, the heartily demanded encore was Mother Of Earth – the perfectly ramped-up ending to a sweaty, all-consuming evening.