For those of us who cut their music-loving teeth on pub bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s, nothing warms the cockles of the heart more than seeing a crowd favourite strike up the strings and pimp the percussion once again. So it was a night of nostalgia at the Cherry Bar in Ac/Dc Lane when the stalwarts of Melbourne (Geelong) rock Warped, graced the stage. A more hardworking band would be difficult to find, but it was this relentless work schedule that almost resulted in a permanent end to this entity. Even the most placid and easy-going person could not sustain something so intense for long – to live the band life with band mates who have their own responsibilities, ideas and resolves. Thank goodness however that the break up ended up being merely a hiatus.
Approaching Warped with a healthier attitude now, Ben Watkins (guitar, vocals), Todd Trevor (guitar vocals), Sam Crawford (bass) and Cris Wilson (drums) have rediscovered their mojo and are finding joy in bringing classic pub rock to their fans old and new. Their ten-song set was played with verve, panache and prowess. It set the scene for a totally awesome night.
Considering that Mudhoney is a band still held in high esteem amongst fans of the Seattle sound, it was surprising how easy it was to get to the front of the stage. The Monkeywrench (supposed to be a temporary side-project) could never have just a fly-by-night existence when you consider that Mark Arm and Steve Turner (Mudhoney) birthed it into existence, along with Tim Kerr of Poison 13. These three, with Steve Turner (bass) and Australia’s own Martin Bland (drums) delivered wow factor in spades.
In keeping with the pub environment The Monkeywrench played hard and fast. There wasn’t a particular highlight because the whole set rocked from the first song ‘Judgment Day’, to the last song of the encore ‘Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me’. Like all brilliant gigs it was over way too soon and it was time for the band to retreat to the band room for a well-earned bevvy. Still with a few shows to play, you may be able to catch them at your local venue with the guarantee that if you enjoy honest talent you can’t go wrong with this show.