"It was a performance that shared an air of intimacy with the tightly packed Astor crowd."
Record release and band anniversary tours have become saturating in recent years, with every band seeming to hit the road to play for the 14th anniversary of them filling up the tour bus for the 322nd time. They're typically cash-grabbing at nostalgia with lacklustre performances to boot.
In the face of this mediocrity, The Tea Party's celebration of the 20th anniversary of their album The Edges Of Twilight has proven their record feels just as powerful live today as the day it was released. Dripping with raw intensity and an electric dynamic between the three members, they roared into the opening pairing of Fire In The Head and The Bazaar. The energy beaming from the stage wrapped the room in an instant with the exceptional technical rhythm pairing of Jeff Burrows and Stuart Chatwood intertwining perfectly with the stage prowess of Jeff Martin leaning on his Les Paul. It was a performance that shared an air of intimacy with the tightly packed Astor crowd — that could be attributed to the effortlessness of being seasoned performers; Martin has a stated affinity with Perth and loyal fans, who after decades are still just as eager to soak in every moment. As projections of local artist Robert Buratti rolled behind the stage, the band's noticeably high spirits took hold between tracks to buffer the tempo shifts that come with playing an album in full. The frontman himself told stories of track origins, such as the taking of mushrooms on a tour bus heading through the Rocky Mountains that led to Shadows On The Mountainside, joking, "Even I thought I was fucking Jim Morrison." He also addressed the band's separation and reformation: "It was petty reasons really; when we eventually sat down together again the friendship came back, the music came back." Featuring a kaleidoscope of instrumentation that would be the equivalent of a luthier's wet dream, the rich world sounds that brought The Tea Party to fame lost nothing in their live presence, with a heavy dose of Moroccan Roll.
The intermission halted the proceedings but did not halt the momentum, as they came back to rip instantly into Seven Circles' Writing's On The Wall. With the indulgence of eclectic instrumentation and experimentation over with, the night rapidly transformed into the electric Tea Party of memory. Burrows' wild drum repetitions drove through a Save Me come Kashmir cover breakdown with a ballistic closer of Transmission breakout hit Temptation. Classic album tours are still that of nostalgia, but if they can be delivered with the power of this then there's nothing at all wrong with shooting fiery riffs down memory lane.