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Live Review: Red Fang, King Of The North, Hobo Magic

18 May 2015 | 12:15 pm | Tom Hersey

"It’s this ability to offer up equal parts cool and crude that’s liable to permanently consign Red Fang to the fringes of the metal scene"

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The second gig of Red Fang’s two-night residency at Crowbar has attracted a sizeable crowd and the vibes are good as everybody warms up their headbanging muscles by tilting their noggins back so as to pour beer into them.

Hobo Magic kick things off with the meaty grooves from the self-titled record they put out last year. The crowd is more than happy to bang their heads to them. Hobo Magic have sprinkled some fairy dust or something over their riffs because they all hit home. NB: the fairy dust is probably marijuana. 

Doom and roll duo King Of The North are one of the most exciting live acts on Australia’s live scene right now. With very little fuss and even fewer frills, the pair whip up an unholy racket that rivals much fuller bands. A lot of that can be attributed to the thundering power with which drummer Danny Leo beats the shit out of his kit; watching him onstage he looks like an animal. Their set tonight is indicative that we’ll be seeing a lot more from King of the North, and that’s a good thing.

As they walk onto Crowbar’s stage, Red Fang look like a weird hybrid of Bumfights and Portlandia. Then the four-piece start to hit their stride, managing to embody all the gnarliness of the former with the radness of the latter. Big, tasty guitar jams are the order of the evening, and with very little fanfare the four-piece get down to business. They work through cuts off their three full-length albums rather indiscriminately, the obviousness of the material from their self-titled record sitting alongside the more nuanced stoner rock of Hank Is Dead, from Murder The Mountains, and Blood Like Cream, from 2013’s Whales & Leeches very well. Even if Red Fang’s ability to write catchy tunes has improved to the point where they’re now pretty close to that Mastodon/Baroness level where they could start selling out, they still write great songs and they seem intent on never forgetting their dudebro origins, so no one could accuse them of doing so. One of the as-of-yet-untitled joints they try out is one of the strongest cuts in their set. As bassist Aaron Beam handles all the doomy bellows, the rest of the band jams like they’re trying to re-welcome everybody to Sky Valley. It’s this ability to offer up equal parts cool and crude that’s liable to permanently consign Red Fang to the fringes of the metal scene. They’ll never be the hesher heroes or the hipster villains, but if you want a slab of unpretentious rock’n’roll that pairs well with beer drinking, look no further.

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