Walken @ Cornish Arms 25/7
Cornish Arms: How is it I lived within ten minutes drive of this pub for 18 months without ever visiting it? This is surely a lovely little secret. Top quality nosh (gourmet kangaroo steak meals, wondrous wasabi sauces, and Melbourne’s only mixed grill), a great mix of dining and pool room atmospheres, local premium beers on tap, big stage. And you don’t need to pay the band cover charge if you’re already dining, drinking or playing pool. Plus, they play Mit Gas on their sound system. Only a short distance from Harris, so no more going to Bridie O’Reilly’s for me!
Walken: almost four years, wow. I’m still waiting for the penny to drop, for the mainstream to pick this band up. I know I seem biased, their guitarist is one of my best friends, but I don’t suffer bad art even for my friends (I’d be privately encouraging, not publicly enthusiastic). This is one of my favourite bands and I miss not having a nicely produced CD to listen to, though their live performances are always a pick-me-up.
I grapple with describing Walken. Standard line-up: singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer. I call them a pop/rock band, but a fairer estimation would be folk/funk/punk/pop/rock/metal acoustic/electric superstars! I reference the Chili Peppers, REM, and FNM, and agree with Damien’s statements that they remind everyone of “the best parts of their favorite bands” and “are thus engaging, recognisable and yet unique.” But that’s it: a clever lyric may invoke REM, or a bass line the Chili Peppers, but it’s the overall different feel that I love, not the similarities.
They have a very full sound. Each is an accomplished musician in his role, but no one dominates the other. Each one is always on. Mixing mishaps for the first half of last night’s set really gave their professionalism a chance to shine as they played tight without being able to hear themselves, let alone one another. Even as the audience couldn’t hear one different player from song to song, what came from the other three, though noticably lacking a part, was still musical. The second half of the set was free from technical issues and there the band really soared. Walken may be devoted to perfection but they are ever restless, playing new variations on their songs each time they perform. Sometimes that is as simple as raising the tempo, sometimes there are more complex changes to the arrangement of a song.
Walken are absolutely the antidote if you’ve got The Plurals (symptoms: The Vines, The Drugs, The White Stripes, The blah blah blahs, The etcs). Fifteen songs last night would have put you into full remission. If you didn’t get your cure last night, remember you’re putting the health of others at risk! See Walken as soon as possible.