Reviewed by Meghan Player
Over the last 12-18 months, the local blues scene has been steadily making a name for itself – thanks to the underground network of ridiculously skilled bands slogging it out in venues across the country. Tonight, funnily enough on the night Australia celebrates achievements in the industry at the ARIA Awards – I have instead found myself celebrating the unsigned, niche bands tonight. The ones that justly deserve accolades.
As I arrive at the venue, the wonderful blues overtones of Frank Sultana & The Sinister Kids are filling the summer air. Whilst I’ve been a supporter of this local quintet for a while now, their live set is never boring or predictable. The band plows through a set list comprised of tunes from their album, ‘Greetings From Devilstown‘ – a group of songs that take on a new life when they are played live. The beautiful contrast between Frank Sultana and leading lady, Jesse Wadeson‘s vocals are done complete justice in the intimate surroundings of the Vanguard – offering tales of love, loss and the Devil in one complete, engaging package.
Undoubtedly, tonight was all about local nine-piece Papa Pilko & the Bin Rats. From the moment the band steps onto the stage, their charisma and energy draws the audience into the performance. Opening with ‘Into the Light’, the band owns every inch of the stage – showing not only how exciting the local blues scene is at the moment, but how much it has to look forward to in the future.
Frontman Cyrus Pilko is at the top of his game – equally good at shaking his hips as he is crooning to some sweet melodies provided by the Bin Rats. His antidotes about bar fights and gambling between songs provide the perfect setting for great blues storytelling – whilst the interaction between each member of the band keeps the crowd hollering for “just one more song”.
Without a doubt, one of my favourite local acts kicking around the blues scene at the moment, tonight clearly demonstrated why the crowds are growing and growing each time I’m fortunate enough to catch these lads. Their set is entertaining, avant-garde and down-right sexy – meaning you will never see the same show twice.
Whilst 2012 was just the beginning for Papa Pilko & the Bin Rats – their future is already promising so much more.
Do yourself a favour. Listen to this band now.