Live Review: King Cannons - The Toff In Town

26 June 2012 | 6:36 pm | Dominique Wall

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The Toff In Town's bandroom is almost empty when Major Tom & The Atoms play their set, but “Major” Tom Hartney does his best to inspire the unenthusiastic crowd.

The night, however, belongs to headliners King Cannons, who not only have a recent European tour under their belt, but also a debut album, The Brightest Light, and it's this album that they're launching tonight. The Toff is now packed to the brim and, before the curtains even open, the audience let out a roar that could bring down the house as we hear the start of Smoked Out City. It's surprising, given that this gig is to promote their debut album, that Melbourne's favourite adopted sons and daughter do not kick off proceedings with a song off said album, but choose instead to open with a song from their two-year-old, self-titled EP. Nonetheless, it's a popular move, as the crowd go even wilder. Even before we've reached the end of the first song, it's clear to see that Luke Yeoward, Rob Ting, Mikey Ting, Lanae Eruera and Jonno Smith mean business and are as tight as you could wish a band to be. With Dan McKay currently out of the country, drumming duties for the night are more than capably being taken care of by Shihad's Tom Larkin (who also produced The Brightest Light). Known for their short and to-the-point songs, it isn't long before they work their way through numbers including Too Young, Too Hot To Handle, Ride Again, Charlie O, Stand Right Up, the beautifully pared-back Everyman's Tale and Gasoline, with Yeoward keeping the in-between-song banter brief-to-non-existent. The biggest (and, thankfully, only questionable) surprise of the set comes in the form of their cover of Travelling Wilburys' End Of The Line, which sees the Ting brothers making their mark on the vocals (and nicely so).

There's no denying that there's a highly punk-driven, anthemic quality to King Cannon's repertoire. This would be dangerous ground if they didn't tread with such conviction. They've come one hell of a long way as a live band over the past few years and, while their unbridled enthusiasm can be unsettling for the uninitiated (given that we live in a world where keenness in musicians – in a live sense – is not that common a thing), tonight's gig sees them keep things nicely reined in, with just the right amount of energy.