The Gig: Root! with The Rhetorics and The Loop
Where: Yah Yah’s, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
When: 20 August 2010
In One Word: Terrific
So here we are in the packed and already sweltering Yah Yah’s with The Loop opening up the final proceedings with a garage tinged set of stuff much like Question Mark, early Rolling Stones and a hint of The Troggs with a fantastic organ in the background. The quality of the musicianship is apparent and you can tell the boys are in their element warming up the already decent-sized crowd. “Republican Man” is the stand out track of their set but maybe borrowing too much from The Guess Who.
After a much needed feed and some fresh air (albeit smoke tainted) I sauntered back in to hear The Rhetorics whose set of angular-pop-hardcore was confrontational, ugly and melodic at the same time. I got a Buzzcocks meets Dischord feel from it and their vocalist Thomas Whiteside resembled Morrisey (if he sang in PIL, that is).
And here we are, the room fills up and the incessant bleating of people behind me nearly drives me mad until an intro tape of their best intro tapes begins, including the brilliant Celine Dion hit “I will Always Love Root!”. Root take to the stage and proceed with an incredible set that easily puts most of Melbourne to shame; It’s incredibly witty, as you’d expect from the former TISM front-man and the musicianship is just terrific.
I am somewhat of a country snob and have a great hatred towards neo-country mainly for my opinion that it’s a load of bollocks and will never match up to the greats but Root’s brand of this style (no matter how loose it became in the end) is just excellent. Anyone who can rap over relatively straight country (“I still call Australia Ho!”) is a legend in my eyes.
The set goes on with “Shazza and Michelle”, “Orange People” and “Famous for Being Famous” and towards the end there’s an angry look on DC’s face asking why people would pay to see their band if they were just going to talk at the back; I’m with ya there.
The rest of the set is taken by with flying stage costumes; I’m face-attacked by a pair of pyjamas and the band are noticeably pleased with their good aim, while DC Root’s constant movement around the venue ending up on tables, the bar and a strangely positioned indoor window in the middle of the venue.
The show ends with a “Christopher Cross” cover with Henri Lee Root on vocals and DC on bongos as they audition him for Root 2.0; what? It’s extremely unclear what’s exactly happening with the band and notably DC; I have a strong feeling they won’t be away for long.
© Danny Crombie, Music Vice