The Bellrays

The Bellrays

Carrie Phillis and the Downtown Three was a pleasant surprise. Made up of Johnny Casino, Scotty Nash and Craig Jackson, previously of bands like Asteroid B612, Mindless, Johnny Casino & The Secrets and numerous other bands so I knew I was in good hands. Whatever they played would be some sort of pretty good. What I got was ‘60s flavoured rock ballads, some were laid back, and others tunes were some kick ass power pop rock. The tunes included tracks from their EP Spend It with You, and others like 'Mr Fastgun' and 'Rock of Ages'. They were a cool and welcome start to the night.

Treatment hit top speed immediately with 'Satisfaction Guaranteed', reduced the tempo for a minute with, 'Drive Me Crazy' then it was high gear again. This four piece bunch of mop top guys cranked out their brand of ‘60s frenetic fuzzed out garage sound like there is no tomorrow. Other tunes included 'No Way Out', 'Trouble', and 'No Friend of Mine'. A real good time!

Nunchukka Superfly, consisting of Ray Ahn, Peter 'Blackie' Black and drummer Joel Ellis, from the Hard-Ons and Wog, broke out with a scorching first number and it seemed to get heavy and stay nicely that way for the rest of their set. Big riffs and chunky chords were a plenty here tonight in the 'Flys set. Some of the tunes seemed a bit dirgey but I think some of the intricacies in their riffery were maybe lost in the sound mix tonight and the minimalist cavernous shell of the Annandale Hotel that it’s become.

The Bellrays somehow got around the sound debacle. More femmes than usual were standing up the front tonight - perhaps feeling empowered by the bands female vocalist, the amazingly talented Lisa Kekaula... Anticipation and crowd size built. When they hit the stage, there wasn't much banter by Lisa or the band, something like 'how ya doing Sydney - Sydney airport did everything in its power to try stopping us being here tonight but here we are!'. Nor was much needed or wanted.

The Bellrays

'Changing Colours' was the first song served up to a hungry crowd who ate straight out of their hands. 'On Top', and 'That's The Way It Should Be' were the next few belted out and with Kekaula hitting the high notes and keeping them for as long as she wanted! Her voice melds well with the powerhouse band, blending their punk rock soul seamlessly.

The feel is organic, morphing from a frantic pace to a chugga chugga to slower moments and back again with ease. A lot of the setlist was from their last album 'Black Lightning' which was number 14 since their start in 1990.

I got my intro to them with their CD Meet The Bellrays that I played endlessly at the time and live in 2006 when The Bellrays owned the night over Radio Birdman at the Metro. They were no different tonight! Blitzing the Annandale Hotel in their 75 minute set. Others performed were 'Living A Lie', 'Everybody Get Up' and looking all night like that had stamina to burn.

They managed to pull out a two tune encore after the energy they had already burned. These were 'Revolution' and a great 'Blues for Godzilla'. A rocking soul shredder version of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' was jammed on and intertwined to these two last songs to sew them together nicely. It's great on a night like tonight to be reminded of how good a band is.

The Bellrays 'Black Lightining'

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