I always look forward to Friday nights and finishing the working week with a dose of live original music and last Friday was no different with Maverick’s CD launch at Badlands clearly in our sights. My mobile phone broke the silence and my concentration in the office with a message from my friend the Frankinator to say he’s heading into the City early and will meet us at the “Top Gun ” gig later. Frank’s witty reference to the main character of the movie sharing the same name as the band.
This was always going to be an exceptional night of live music given the line up of support bands. Yomi Ship opened the night and if like me your a fan of progressive rock particularly ‘Pineapple Thief’ ,’Anathema , Porcupine Tree and the like then this young trio will appeal.
There’s a maturity to their music beyond their age. The next band ‘ Moonlighter’ I hadn’t seen before, another young trio who opened with a pretty loose version of the Hendrix classic Redhouse ( I think ) followed by a set of songs performed with a looseness that made it that much more enjoyable. Datura 4 were next and fired straight out of the blocks with their bluesy riff laden hard rock. These guys are a tight outfit , I love the way the two guitars compliment rather than compete with each other. If you haven’t seen this band then do yourselves a favour and check out these legends of the Perth music scene.
But the night belonged to ‘Maverick’, the band I along with around two hundred other music loving souls came to see. Maverick’s music is based around good honest no frills Rock and Roll the kind you used to get in the, I was going to say 70’s but that would be selling them short.
Close your eyes and songwriter/ vocalist Craig Jovanovic reminds you of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and their music shares similar qualities, Good honest balls to the wall rock and roll. They have an ace up their sleeve though in ‘Guitar Operator’ Mark De Vattimo. Until now I thought Mark was a metal shredder having only seen him in his former band but he’s much more and his previous musical forays give his bluesy rock riffs a harder edge . Mark seems to enjoy the freedom of not being the frontman and is a perfect marriage to Craig’s guitar playing. Couple this to a tight rhythm section in Simon Hallet ( Bass ) and Nick Dudman ( Drums ) and you have a winning combination that delivers a great live sound.
Closing the night with the Beatles/ Cocker classic ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ by inviting wives and girlfriends up on stage to provide backing vocals was a magical and fitting finale. Their debut CD ‘Firebird’ is a really strong bunch of songs and by my 3rd of 4th listen I was completely hooked. I guess Frank was right , this gig really was “Top Gun”
Review by John Biddle
Photos by Emanuel Rudnicki Photography