Published on 3rd September 2012 05:35 PM
NITRO – TRAK LOUNGE BARAugust 31st 2012, and finally the night Melbourne’s hard rock and alternative music scene waited 12 long years for, had arrived! Bought to you by Top Fuel Entertainment, Trak Lounge Bar’s Nitro exploded onto the scene reuniting punters from Outlaw Hard ‘n’ Fast, which had a legendary run from 1998 to 2000. Spurned on by a social networking page which put the squeeze on force to be reckoned with, Head Promoter, Julie Marrington, it was inevitable that this mover and shaker would once again get a burning itch for rock and roll which just had to be scratched! Enter Top Fuel Entertainment and Trak Lounge Bar‘s Nitro!
Trak Lounge Bar located at 445 Toorak Rd, Toorak, is an A1 set up perfectly suited for Nitro. The stage is just the right size and height & the lighting and sound systems are second to none. This is no surprise as the venue is partly owned by industry stalwart, Michael Gudinski, who built the renowned Mushroom Group and Fontier Touring Company. Gudinski recently topped the Australian Music Industry Power 50. Thus, as you’d expect, the premises are customised to rock hard. The cloak room comes in handy and leads downstairs to comfortable lounge area with a bar for those wanting to chill. From here you enter into the band room. Inside, no matter where you’re located in the audience, you can easily see the band. Overall the facilities are slick and smooth and the discreet VIP area gives its guests a bird’s eye view of the action.
Everywhere you turned at Nitro were people you knew from years ago, not only from Hard ‘n’ Fast, but from other venues playing bands of the genre in that era. It was unbelievable! This was the equivalent of a high school reunion for Melbourne’s lovers of hard rock & alternative music, with one twist. The crowd was a seamless blend of generations Y through to Boomers united by a common bond; specifically, the music and tonight’s band, local outfit, Electric Mary.
Punters were primed with sets by DJ’s Diamond Deb and DJ B on the Rocks who spun classic alternative heavy hits by artists including Ministry, Nirvana, Sonic Youth White Zombie, Soundgarden, White Stripes, Metallica, Mudhoney, Revolting Cocks, Nine Inch Nails, ACDC, Muse, Pantera, and Motorhead, to name but a few. People were diggin’ it but by 11.30 pm they were hungry for the main event; Electric Mary, back on home turf in Melbourne, for their first show in three months, hot on the heels of a tour of Japan.
If you haven’t heard of Electric Mary already, you soon will. Watching them action, it immediately becomes apparent that they’re a tight hard working band in the Aussie pub rock tradition. Formed by vocalist Rusty Brown, who has veto power over a collaborative song writing process, Brown, is joined by Venom on drums, Alex Raunjak on bass, Peter Robinson on guitar and newest member, guitarist, Brett Wood, formerly of Pete Murray’s band. Wood replaces guitarist, Glen Proudfoot, who stepped into the role for a time when a vacancy was created by Irwin Thomas, (previously known as Jack Jones of Southern Sons), who moved to New York after holding the gig for some years.
If the band was wearied by the inevitable line up changes which happen from time to time, it didn’t show. Brown opened the night with a one two punch of ‘Down to the Bone’ followed by ‘Gasoline’ both off the band’s 2009 offering, Down to the Bone. From there, he prowled the stage like a panther staking claim to his lair, at times defiant and chest beating, running the gamut of emotion to the edge of spent, as he wrung himself dry daring the audience to join him for a wild ride – and join him they did!
Stand out songs of the night included Stained, off the 2012 EP Long Time Coming Here, with its killer riffs and pounding rhythms underpinned by the flawless work of Venom and Raunjak. deserves a mention here. Raunjak deserves a mention here. This is a bass player who works the engine room of the rhythm section with the stagecraft of a front liner, without missing a beat! What a sight to behold! Let Me Out grabbed you by the throat with Brown’s demanding lament and the guitar work, and Luv Me is so guttural Brown emphatically wipes the floor with you as he sings ‘shake in your boots baby’, then leaves you begging for more! Crashdown took the crescendo to new heights as both guitarists showed superb technique and took turns in a spectacular soloing frenzy! Wood, although suitably animated, perhaps still feeling his way with a new gig, tended to let his red left handed SG do most of the talking and boy did it howl! Robinson on the other hand, clearly at home here, literally morphed before your very eyes into a demon who played like man possessed! The place ignited at the sonic assault of the entire unit like it’d been napalmed with rocket fuel!
As the end drew near, the crowd starved of their Electric Mary fix in the lead up to the gig, demanded more! The band generously obliged with a three song encore. Here we heard new track Feel Your Pain, which featured with Who I Am on a two track teaser giveaway CD, and was heard earlier in the night; if these tracks are anything to go by, the full length album due for release in a couple of months will be another rip snorter. Both songs have monster riffs as foreboding as an anaconda and tight as a fishes arse. Like most Electric Mary tracks, the lyrics to ‘Feel Your Pain’ hint at underlying turmoil which is essential to songs of this calibre. My Best Friend followed and was notable for its more grunge style. Although not a personal favourite, it did showcase a ferocious drum solo by the seemingly inexhaustible Venom, one of only a handful of drummer’s up to the task of driving the beast which is Electric Mary. An ‘in the zone’ all in guitar duel where the band, minus Brown, went to another place to let off a bit of steam at the end this song, also made it worthy of inclusion, before a return to the gnarly, grunt laden riffs, rhythmic bottom end and powerhouse melodic vocals which are quintessential Electric Mary, with ‘O.I.C’ which ended the night’s performance.
With that the DJ’s took to the turntables, accompanied by Sinister Rouge cage dancers Lissy Deviant and Dallas Vandal, where they kept punters rockin’ and rollin’ ‘till 3 am.
This was a night Melbourne’s hard rock and alternative music scene will remember for years to come, so stayed tuned for more news on Trak Lounge Bar’s Nitro bought to you by Top Fuel Entertainment! As for Electric Mary, with an impressive list of credits already to their name, including supporting Deep Purple, Whitesnake, and Judas Priest, among others, you’ll be hearing more from them real soon