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Live Review: Twelve Foot Ninja & Caligula’s Horse at 170 Russell Street

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Last year I was afforded the opportunity to see and review two incredible bands in Twelve Foot Ninja & Caligula’s Horse but due to unforeseen issues arising I was unable to attend both.

But on Friday 12th Jan I finally had and embraced the opportunity to witness the two bands on the same stage on the same night and WOW readers was the sold out 170 Russell in Melbourne treated to a night of sheer heavy progressive majesty and royalty.

First to hit the stage was I Built The Sky an instrumental three-piece from Melbourne that delivered a sound and set that was far beyond their mere trio sonic capabilities. I have to admit that I struggle sometimes where there are vocals lacking but the heaviness and variations of I Built The Sky did indeed distract me from their lack of frontman thanks to the incredible musicianship from all three members. Rohan’s compelling guitar showmanship needed to be seen to be believed and the way he has created his layers upon layers filling their music totally was amazing.

Next to hit the stage was a band I had waited six months to see since hearing their eleven out of ten album “In Contact” since its unleashing upon the world last September. This album of heavy progressive magnificence is a journey for that senses that has deemed it worthy and rightfully so of many a top ten list for 2017 and that includes mine.

I am going to get my only gripe of the evening out of the way right now and that is that would of liked tonight to be a co-headline show because 40 minute stage time for a band the calibre of Caligula’s Horse was insanely short. But, that out of the way what do I say about Caligula’s that hasn’t already been written about? They command and compel their audience with an elevated show of music that is designed to consume and be as thought provoking as well as loved by all who happen to be touched by their magnificence.

To actually see and hear Sam Vallen’s songwriting and guitar playing live was beyond what I could hope for. A master of his art, Sam picked his way through the set with the grace and virtuosity that only Caligula’s Horse can deliver. That said let’s discuss the incredible presence of frontman Jim Grey. Not since seeing Warrel Dane and Nevermore at the Corner Hotel many years ago was I held in the palm of a vocalists hand like I was for forty minutes serenaded by Jim. His voice is near perfect! To witness five incredible musicians compliment and complete one another so perfectly on stage as Caligula’s Horse do on vinyl is a rare and satisfying gift to be gifted. Thank you Caligula’s Horse for existing.

And then, the peace de resistance or the icing on this evenings cake and local legends doing incredible things, creating incredible music was Twelve Foot Ninja. Their jazz inspired, groove adorned style of heavy as featured on their latest release Outlier performed live exceeded all of my expectations.

I will add a second minor disappointment and that their guitar sound mix did suffer significantly from my vantage point for much of the set, but taking nothing away from Twelve Foot they without question gave their hometown crowd a performance that blew their audience away

The band’s banter and crowd interaction was a welcome rarity and much obliged by us, but make no mistake, Twelve Foot Ninja were here to end their Monsoon tour in their hometown to an audience of diehard fans and end the tour in absolute grandeur they did. Playing a set of all killer, no filler I was so glad to finally witness the sonic complexity and brilliantly written music performed live that, as I was walking out after their one hour show I was left in awe of seeing and hearing so much awesome from these three bands for a little over three hours.

If ever there was a bill and/or lineup that encapsulated perfection then tonight was the night.

 

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