I’m on a short trip back home to Brisbane, Queensland to catch up with family and make sure my house is still standing after I left my 20 something’s in charge of it in my absence. Of course there is time to squeeze in a gig or two while I’m here…that’s a given!!
Tonight I’m at The Queensport Hotel in Hemmant, on the south side, to see a cover band who to me are Australia’s best Led Zeppelin representatives – ‘Song Remains’ – Cam Brown (vocals), Mick Bristow (Lead Guitar), Milan Savimaki (Bass) and Bevan Bancroft (Drums).
This wasn’t supposed to be a work night, a night for blogging, I was just going to enjoy the music and performance but once I’d seen what these guys delivered I felt I needed to tell the readers all about them.
In all the years I’ve lived in Brisbane I’ve never been to this hotel until tonight and it’s steeped in history being built in 1864. It’s now in an industrial area which makes it the perfect venue for live performances.
There’s a large crowd of punters here tonight and they are all enjoying the beverages and positioning themselves around the venue including on a side road which runs beside the beer garden which is set up for tonight’s show. We are in an outdoor setting but the ambiance is electric and buzzing. Song Remains are no stranger to this venue and it’s obvious their fans have come out to see them tonight – the first gig for 2019.
The stage is well prepared and yet it seems like a bigger production than other Song Remains gigs I’ve been to. There’s some great lighting and the sound desk has a very experienced technician at the helm.
The boys come on stage, the fog machine rears up and the thunderous energy begins!
A short musical intro before Brown channels his inner Plant and delves into the depths of his soul to produce a vocal quality and sound equal to the great man himself. His vibe is infectious and he creates an aura that everyone wants to be a part of. The accuracy of his air piercing notes is a astounding and his range colossal.
Off to the left of Brown, Bristow takes command of his instrument revealing some scorching riffs and blistering fretwork that makes it hard to choose between his mastery and Brown’s aura. Bristow easily emulated Page’s bow playing on his axe in the performance of Dazed and Confused and only served to bolster his reputation as one of Brisbane’s most talented guitar players.
On the right is Savimaki, using 4 strings to create a pulse that runs through your core and sometimes you get to glimpse a smirk and the devil in his eyes…but he’s always on the job locking in with the drummer and solidifying the rhythm and melody. Savimaki is a Bass Virtuoso he doesn’t prance about: his mission is simple he has come to rock and rock he will. He has a neat little trick up his sleeve…musicians often use a glass slide – Savimaki is way to cool for that…he uses a whole bottle to caress the neck of his guitar.
We’ve lost sight of the drummer for a bit as the smoke haze devours his space but there’s no denying he’s in the house! Crisp, clean, fervent and impassioned beats can be heard and bring a great textural highlight to the performance. The icing on tonight’s cake was with Bancroft’s powerhouse rendition of Moby Dick. Alone and in the zone he kept the circa 200ish crowd entranced and built them to a frenzy with just two things – himself and two wooden sticks.
The set listing spanned decades of Led Zeppelin classics…We’re Gonna Groove, Black Dog, Ramble On, The Ocean, Immigrant Song, Song remains, Dazed and Confused, Moby Dick, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love and War Pigs…Wait? War Pigs?…Yep, included was this classic from Black Sabbath. Punters reacted to this addition with gusto screaming cheers of ‘bring it on’…and bring it Song Remains did.
Production wise…there was nothing I could fault. The lighting and sound reflected and enhanced every need of the band to deliver an outstanding night of entertainment. The atmosphere provided by the venue also contributing to the overall success of the night.
The punters were transfixed and immersed in the days of old where previously they may have only have had the opportunity to listen to Led Zeppelin on vinyl but now could imagine themselves in front of the iconic 70’s band themselves. This experience only being bought about thanks to the impressive and precise vocals of Brown and the support and individual skill-sets of the band members. This is why they are the Led Zeppelin Cover Band of choice…I’ve not seen another cover band able to pull this off – so close to the original artists it’s hard not to believe your are hearing the real thing.
I’ve seen these guys perform twice before but I have to say that tonight was the best performance I’ve ever seen from them…in part because of the production accompanying the music and because I feel as though Cam Brown may have lifted his vocals a level or two…if that’s even possible since they were outstanding to begin with.
The night has come to an end, my dance body has tired from overuse, my voice is croaky from joining in the fever…I am on a high and as I reflect on this night sitting here, I just don’t have the right words to tell you what you’ve missed…perhaps the video below will show you…and I’ll be seeing these boys again – hope to see you there!!