Gig/Concert: Root! (DVD launch) with Austin Floyd
Venue: The East Brunswick Club, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date: 30 April 2010
In One Word: Exuberant
There’s a certain band in Australia’s deep, dark musical history that I’m going to do my best not to mention in this review, even though I have it on good authority that at least one member of that subversive entity lives on in this relative newcomer of a group, the very tastefully (and cunningly) named Root! But enough said about that, other than that the eagle-eyed may spot a subtle CLUE somewhere in the text of this article…but back to the present, and the gig I’m actually here to review.
I arrive just in time to catch the tail-end of the main support act, a band unfamiliar to me until this moment, going by the name of Austin Floyd. I am pleasantly surprised – though hardly “shocked”, perhaps – to find a particularly rootsy country-blues band which, while it perhaps doesn’t exactly boast the “twist” on the genre that the headliners themselves are known for, is certainly very solid and readily pleasing to the ears. They look the part too; perhaps more so than the headlining band who, like the infamous band from whose ashes they have triumphantly risen, relish in varied visual “themes” unique to individuals gigs or tours. I’m sure you can tell I’m eager to get to the band in question, so with a complimentary tip of the hat to the seemingly fine support act, let’s move onto the night’s main entertainment.
Sexy and elegant in their “hi-vis” fluorescent work-wear, with frontman DC Root up a workman’s ladder, Root! have launched into the opening song before the black curtains have even fully parted. Myself and a fellow long-time fan next to me bemusedly try to work out the “significance” of this particular visual motif, then shrug our collective shoulders and just continue to enjoy the show: after all, “that” old band did strange shit like this too, and who are we plebs to question such genius? DC Root is a showman among showmen, moving freely both on and off-stage with the aid of a wireless mike, and his band are as tight as a nun’s you-know-what. They put on an energetic, exuberant show that would put most current bands full of spotty nineteen year-olds [Root! being just a smidgen older] to SHAME. DC’s days of crowd-surfing and having his costume ripped off may be behind him…whoops, regressing a bit too much into the not-too-distant past again…but the fact is he could still show up most frontmen half his age. And, as always, his between-song banter is equal parts deadpan and hilarious.
Maybe I’m a tad biased here, but fuck it, it’s always nice to see one’s youthful “idols” go on to bands at least NEARLY as good as the one that made them famous/infamous. Duran Duran, take note! No one in Australia with a sense of humour and an even passing interest in music that combines country-‘n’-western with more “contemporary” genres such as hip-hop – and let’s face it, who DOESN’T have such an interest? – should miss seeing Root! live at least once. Any band that sells baby bibs as merchandise has gotta be doin’ somethin’ right…
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Pictures of Root! in Melbourne
Root! – Official Website
As a bonus, check out this Root! video… the lines of “What are you looking at me for? Don’t be smart!” remind us of the kind of stereotypical Aussie bloke utterances once muttered on Neighbours by good old Joe Mangle.