-By Dariya Salmin
On Saturday night, Harts brought his unique, funky, rock and pop sound to Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Apart from the accompaniment of a drummer, Harts put on an hour performance that could have been carried out by at least a five-person band. Whether he was shredding his guitar on the floor, creating quirky melodies on his keyboard or singing in falsetto, he managed to produce an exhilarating, powerful and soulful performance that captivated and left the audience mesmerised. Cal (The Southern River Band and Red Engine Caves) kicked off the night with his old school blues and country rock anthems and Old Blood got everyone dancing with their funky and electric soul presence, but it was Harts’ pure talent and collaboration of genres and instruments, that stole the show.
Decked out in all denim, Cal brings enough personality in one night to last him a lifetime. Immediately creating a groovy ambience as soon as he gets on stage, his natural and eccentric presence is a replication of his instrumental talents, performing as if he could easily do this in his sleep. As he rambled on and on throughout his set, his charismatic and confidence created an intriguing atmosphere for the fair few people who started to enter Jack Rabbit Slim’s. His strong 1960s rock n roll and grunge vocals perfectly balanced against his country-rock and blues guitar solos, but it was his playfulness and unpredictability that kept people listening as he randomly played the Australian national anthem and a witty song called I Wanna Be An Instagram Model, dedicated to “hot as fuck people who get famous on Instagram.” Cal also drums for Red Engine Caves who will be performing for free at The Carine next Saturday night.
Old Blood got the largest crowd response of the night, which isn’t a surprise considering they sound on par with some of the world’s greatest blues musicians. The five-piece band performed a number of old school rock and hypnotic blues songs such as Whipping Post by The Allman Brothers Band and Little By Little by B.B. King. Cal joined them on stage playing percussion for their songs Open Hand and Lay Down, which were the slow burners of the night. Mystic and Melodic, the songs had a strong story telling presence, which captivated the crowd. The craftsmanship of each individual on stage was astounding as the musicians were as equally as talented as the other and the performance wouldn’t have been as powerful without each of them adding their individual elements. However it was Tony Papa-Adam’s (vocals) authentic and incredible stage presence that makes Old Blood so special and unique. As Papa-Adams feels everything with his whole body and soul, you’re left feeling privileged to even have been a part of the experience. Finishing with their songs Nature in Me and Medicine Man, Old Blood had the crowd inspired, grooving and excited for Harts.
Accompanied by a drummer, Harts opened his show switching between a poppy, up beat keyboard solo and a soulful blues guitar solo. The mixing of genres foreshadowing what the rest of his set would be like. Harts’ performance was enriched by so many different elements, it sounded like everything you’ve ever heard but like nothing you’ve ever heard at the same time. One minute he’d be doing a grungy and funky Jimi Hendrix-like guitar bit and then next minute he’d be on the keyboard doing disco synth and Hall & Oats-like vocals. His song Lovers In Bloom was a perfect example of this. Harts played his new track called Peculiar, a little mellower than his other stuff, however he still manage to hold the audience and keep his authentic stage presence. The crowd started off really static, which was a surprise considering how loose they were for Old Blood. Maybe they were just taking everything in or maybe they weren’t as familiar with his less popular songs, but everyone seemed to become more enthusiastic when Harts played his popular songs Red and Blue and Breakthrough. One guitar solo after the next, Harts didn’t wither in energy at all, if anything it increased and peaked at his final song; Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. Playing the guitar upside down and behind his head with ease, Harts legitimised to the crowd at Jack Rabbit Slim’s all the hype surrounding his musical ability.
Photo Credit: Jack Rabbit Slim’s & OK Media Group