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Klondike’s North Forty
Narrabeen Sands Hotel –Sydney
Saturday, April 26 2003

Slim and dangerous, the lights and tiny black shades make a shaven-headed Chris Masuak an intimidating presence, even before those teeth rattlin’ guitar licks take effect.

The Sands at Narrabeen is pool playin’ locals, blonde surfer girls and Manzil Room Refugees mingled with the curious to check these guys out. Expectations high. The band boast an impressive pedigree, with ex Radio Birdman, Hitmen DTK, and Juke Savages members making up the band. A no-nonsense intro and straight into Shake Some Action and, appropriately, The Party Starts Now – knife-edge tight power rock that builds up and peaks like the surf crashing a few hundred metres away. If you’re on this ride, hang on.

Frontman, Matt Sulman, works the stage in erratic circles, seemingly oblivious to the intensity around him as the rhythm section, Gye Bennetts (drums) and Red Porter (Bass), pound the crowd. Then there’s Masuak. Songs like "Stupid Planet" are an evolution of Birdmanesque styling but weigh in with new intensity. Nobody burns the neck of a Fender like this guy and there’s a genuine feeling of evolution, maybe freedom, or just plain fun in the delivery.

The temptation to compare the Klondike’s North Forty with some of the bands they evolved from is natural and some sort of homage was expected from the crowd. It gave this new band a chance to establish their identity, a benchmark for comparison. So OK, they delivered. Sounds of Wailing absolutely kicked arse, with Porter driving the sound at the crowd and an uncontrollable Bennetts crashing through the skin on his snare mid-song.

The North Forty wound up with a couple of songs that paid homage to their past lives: "Burn my Eye" (Birdman) and "Electrophonic Tonic" (Sonic's Rendezvous Band) coming off more like fresh and original rock, and destined to become signature tunes as these guys kick on. I get the impression "Klondike's North Forty" are building up to something and this being only their second gig out expect it to be a monster. - Chris Duvall


The Klondike Situation
and The Wild Weasels
West Lindfield Bowling Club
Saturday, November 16, 2002

It was the debut of Chris Masuak’s (of Radio Birdman, Screaming Tribesmen, Hitmen fame) new band, The Klondike Situation, that lead to a trek to a suburban mecca; the West Lindfield Bowling club; complete with a framed picture of the Queen above the small stage, a battered piano in the corner, laminex tables and plastic chairs, psychedelic 1970s carpet, a handful of poker machine blinking at the end of the room and best of all $3 schooners available from the bar.

The Wild Weasels were on the stage when I arrived and what a bizarre sight and sound greeted me as I walked through the door – a woman outside rocking a baby to sleep in a pram, children sitting on the floor watching the band and an odd assortment of people young and old.

Then there was the band; a rather portly bleached blonde guy playing rhythm guitar, a bespectacled leftover from the 60s on keyboards, a lead guitarist who remained seated through the entire performance, a balding lead singer reliving his youth and a fiddle player and drummer. They proceeded to tear apart some classic rock covers including "Another Girl Another Planet" by the Only Ones, "Pills" by the New York Dolls, "Paint it Black" by the Stones as well as a couple of originals. These guys reminded me of a bunch of friendly uncles who had been practicing in the garage, drinking far too much beer and playing their favourite songs. Given the setting, these guys entertained at least equally for comic value as much as musical prowess.

After a short break The Klondike Situation strode on to the stage to warm applause from a small but appreciative audience. From the opening riff of "Burn My Eye" to the set-closing version of Lou Reed’s "Rock and Roll", the audience was treated to a blistering display of hard rock.

Chris Masuak was in scintillating form; his guitar work was masterful as his fingers smoked along the fret board tearing out precise power riffs and fiery lead solos. Gye Bennets laid down a tight powerful drum backing, he was ably assisted by Red Porter on bass and sing

er Matt Sulman kept the crowd entertained providing a great counterpoint to Masuak’s guitar work. The Klondike Situation ripped into old and new songs with equal vigour, including the Radio Birdman standards "Aloha Steve and Danno" and "New Race", the Flamin' Groovies' "Shake Some Action" and "I Don’t Mind" by the Hitmen, as well as some wonderful new tracks: "Sad Prison", "Trust in No One" and the burning blues feel of "Big Finned Cruiser".

The band was tight, loud and definitely on top of their game – it was hard to believe this was their first gig and Chris Masuak confirmed his status as one of the best hard rock guitarists in Australia.

All in all, a great fun night and a very promising debut from The Klondike Situation (since re-named Klondike's North Forty - ED) so keep your ears and eyes open for them. - Richard Sharman