Live Review: The Vasco Era - Corner Hotel

26 June 2012 | 7:08 pm | Dylan Hewitt

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Staying true to their rural roots, The Vasco Era have decided to put on two country acts as their supports tonight. The first is fresh-faced young troubadour Fraser A Gorman who performs a set of country revival to a steadily growing crowd. Next up is Luke Legs & The Midnight Specials who play a solid set of countrified rock and Americana (from Melbourne). Mr Legs displays a great dose of charisma, and although appreciative, the crowd are obviously saving their energies for the headline act.

The sold-out Corner Hotel band room fills to capacity before the red curtain is raised and a lone Sid O'Neil of The Vasco Era takes the stage to sing the opening tune. He displays an endearing awkwardness that I'm sure the chicks dig. Out from behind the hair covering his eyes he starts off carelessly singing (way) out of tune, his bottom register making him sound like a sort of bogan Kermit The Frog. However just before it gets cringeworthy, he hits a few perfectly placed high notes that bring it home. A great mix of rock'n'roll rasp and clear, vulnerable falsetto, O'Neil could definitely hold his own as a solo act.

After a few minutes the rest of the band join him on stage and the rock show begins. Sid's brother Ted's bass firmly carries the mix with a crumbling, overdriven tone that locks in tight with the perfectly elementary rhythms, pounded out by drummer Michael Fitzgerald. And above it all, sits a searing and fuzzy electric guitar, a prime example of just how intoxicating rock'n'roll can be. Halfway into the set, the Corner Hotel is about 30 degrees and smells like a barn. Aside from laughing at Sid O'Neil's half-hearted comedy shtick, the enthusiastic crowd sing along with the screams and yelps of the frontman, who has traded in his resonator guitar and white-boy blues for a Stratocaster and garage-rock routine that would give Craig Nicholls a run for his money. The kind of whimsical, I-don't-give-a-fuck shenanigans that you can only get away with if you back it up with some seriously good rock'n'roll, which The Vasco Era certainly deliver. A powering and energetic set, peppered with some solos straight out of an electric guitarist caricature. Whether or not this is the band's final show or just a pre-holiday send-off, The Vasco Era are definitely leaving Melbourne on a high.