Live Review: Kid Congo And The Pink Monkey Birds + Hits + Shifting Sands | Friday 2 September, The Triffid, Newstead

A crackerjack and much talked about show at Black Bear Lodge eighteen months ago has ensured that a respectably sized crowd of rock and roll disciples are on-hand to welcome the return of the legendary Kid Congo Powers to Brisbane. Well that and the the fact that he’s been an integral member of some of the greatest rock and roll bands ever; The Cramps, The Gun Club and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds is a rather impressive CV it must be said!

Alas I arrive only to catch the last song of Shifting Sands’ set. The side project of Six Ft Hick’s Geoff Corbett, Shifting Sands is an exercise in quieter intensity, songs of heartbreak and woe crooned and cajoled by Corbett while seated. The band plays this show in expanded five piece mode, including the unmistakable presence of Nick Naughton on drums.

Tonights performance by Brisbane rebel rousers Hits sees charismatic front man ‘Evil Dick’ looking somewhat more dapper than usual in a smart jacket and glasses. However any thoughts of a more restrained performance from the front man soon evaporate as he jumps down into the crowd early on, singing at the audience and herding them to the front of the room as the band smash it up onstage. Their ‘shambolic yet tight’ shtick remains, a few false starts thrown in with a whole bunch of kick arse, balls to the wall rock and roll. A killer finale sees them obliterate their amped up take on the Laughing Dogs track One In A Million, priming the crowd for what is about to follow..
Kid Congo Powers is one of the most idiosyncratically engaging front men you’re ever likely to encounter on a rock and roll stage. An eccentric dandy with a one of a kind dress sense, ‘The Kid’ radiates a surreal bump and grind which captivates all in the room.

Many of tonight’s numbers commence as drop dead cool/funny monologues before bursting forth and unleashing the grease upon the amped up Friday night crowd. The Kid’s accomplices, The Pink Monkey Birds make for an impressively well oiled unit, providing the perfect foil for the rock and roll voodoo of their band leader, the power house drumming of Ron Miller proving to be a particular highlight.
Flitting between swamp noir, hair raising blasts of garage rawk and grease laden r&B grind, plenty of tracks from hot new record La Arana Es La Vida adorn the set list. Highlights include the Chicano flavoured La Arana, the 60’s garage shape shifter, Magic Machine and the head nodding groove of Ricky Ticky Tocky.

Whilst largely focusing on the songs from his present repertoire, it’s hard not to madly hope for an anointment of magic from The Kid’s mythical back catalogue. To that end we are treated to two incendiary Gun Club numbers. She’s Like Heroin To Me makes an early appearance, the Pink Monkey Birds nailing it’s rollicking tempo in fine style as The Kid channels the ghost of mythical Gun Club front man Jeffrey Lee Pierce. And penultimate track Sex Beat sees the crowd combust in an unfiltered wave of dancing, fist pumping and drunken singalong joy. In fact tonight’s entire performance is an exercise in the art of not standing still while having a permanently plastered grin across one’s face. Let’s hope for another swift return to these shores from The Kid and his cohorts.

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