Live Review: King Cannons Old Museum

4 July 2012 | 7:23 am | Benny Doyle

This is the sort of celebratory and joyous end that this night was destined for from the outset – this is what rock’n’roll is all about.

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A rockin' blues explosion, Melbourne sextet Major Tom & The Atoms quickly get hips shaking and the Old Museum foundations quaking, the collective providing a jolt of energy that starts the heart. Led by former Little Red player Tom Hartney, the finger-snapping revivalists inject the room with a smoky air of sex, tracks such as The House That Love Built walking the line between The Stones and a full-blown zoot-suit riot. Only a few months ago, Hartney surprised many when he announced that he was walking away from one of Australia's most popular young bands. With an inspired performance tonight, he makes it clear that the decision was the right one.

With their face tattoos and immaculate hair, Kiwi expats King Cannons immediately capture your attention, however, such surface curiosities are quickly pushed aside by their powerful tunes and airtight onstage chemistry, the combination far more captivating that any piece of ink on the skin. The Melbourne-based band set the tone for the set with motor-revving Smoked Out City, the space around Luke Yeoward's grimy storytelling shaded with jiving piano/guitar interplay and rich percussion courtesy of “Queen Cannon” Lanae Eruera and Shihad skinsman Tom Larkin, while Too Young is the sort of call-to-arms that has the potential to soundtrack protests. Launching their debut album The Brightest Light, the sweat-drenched band are utterly enamoured with their new body of work and it's easy to understand why, the songs offering those sort of impassioned cries that made the Oils and Chisel so vital 30 years ago. Soon-to-be-anthems such as The Last Post, Ride Again and On Our Own sound like they were written from the middle of the cane field; the twangs robust, the choruses rooted in a world that anyone can connect with, and the group's take on Traveling Wilburys classic End Of The Line fits the tone of the evening perfectly, breaking up the swing of 131 Bop and the down-tempo skank of Charlie O with natural ease. But after well over an hour the band still aren't finished, laying out their two biggest trump cards end-to-end to send off the masses: Take The Rock gets the finale moving in the right direction before the opening strains of Teenage Dreams kicks out. Yeoward and his cohorts are quickly engulfed by a mess of moving bodies, pumping fists and wide-eyed smiles; strangers are sharing backing vocals, greaser-styled girls are swinging with glee, yet the band don't even look like missing a note. This is the sort of celebratory and joyous end that this night was destined for from the outset – this is what rock'n'roll is all about.