THE MESS HALL
+ WHIRLWIND HEAT
The Gaelic Club, Sydney
Friday June 24, 2005


WORDS: RICHARD SHARMAN
PICTURE: ESSIE D

It was a cold and wet Friday night, much more suited to staying at home than heading out to brave the

elements, however a few soothing ales soon made the drenching received on the way seem inconsequential.

The event at the Gaelic Club was the Sydney launch of the debut album by The Mess Hall, "Notes From The Ceiling". I was lucky enough to attend the album preview a couple of weeks earlier and was anticipating this full-blown Mess Hall show.

I missed the first band on the bill but was safely inside a fast-filling Gaelic Club for The Whirlwind Heat, a three-piece band from Grand Rapids, Michigan. What differentiates the Heat from your standard three-piece is that their line up consists of a vocalist (and sometime keyboardist), drums and bass. These guys have been around for a while now and have been signed to fellow Michigan resident, Jack White’s record label.

If you can imagine a sound and performance that features a Keith Moon type drummer, with Rage Against the Machine vocals and a big dirty splodge of Sonic Youth thrown in you have some idea of where the Whirlwind Heat come from – it definitely went down well with the crowd.

By the time The Mess Hall arrived on stage a good crowd had built up and Jed and Cec launched into a rollicking set that drew on material from both their new album and their back catalogue.

The Mess Hall are a two-piece powerhouse combo, fronted by Jed Kurzel on guitar and vocals and drummer Cec, a skinny streak of a lad who also whacks the skins for Brisbane outfit The Tremors. These two proceed to create one helluva fine racket from such a simple set up.

The Mess Hall delivered hard rocking blues at its best; highlights of their set included the new tracks Pills, Metal and Hair, Red Eyes and Sunshine and their old favourites, Lock and Load, Railyard Rumble and a blistering Shake Shake. Jed howled out the vocals, and at times bludgeoned his guitar into submission and at other times played some fiery slide, all the while Cec nailed down a powerhouse beat and yelled along with fierce abandon at times with Jed. Mighty fine stuff indeed!

After near an hour on stage The Mess Hall left the stage – but no encore was forthcoming.
However, the audience was treated to a surprise – The Mess Heat or Whirlwind Hall, as both bands took to the stage to deliver a blistering set of three or four Nirvana songs. This was not cover band Nirvana, but some serious musicians paying homage to one of the most influential bands from the last twenty years, they delivered this tribute with passion and energy and the crowd lapped it up.


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