The Gaelic Club, Sydney
January 13, 2006

Words and pictures by RICHARD SHARMAN

Arriving at The Gaelic Club on a balmy Sydney summer night I was greeted with a line stretched well along Devonshire Street waiting for the doors to open for this sell out show. Rather than join the queue I took refuge in a local watering hole for a couple of cold beers.

I made it inside part way through Superpussy’s set. They are a three-piece band I'm unfamiliar with – they sounded very metal with the drummer assuming the main vocal duty.

When Grand Fatal took to the stage the Gaelic Club was really starting to fill – both upstairs and downstairs. I had heard a bit about these guys from Newtown but this was the first opportunity I had to see them live. And I was mighty impressed. Grand Fatal are a four piece led by Jimmy Fatal on guitar and lead vocals, the rest of the team being Rusty James on drums, Graeme Kent on guitar and vocals with Benjamin Ely on bass duties. With lineage from bands such as Massappeal, Downtime and ESN Grand Fatal certainly have the credentials to deliver and they certainly didn’t disappoint. They put on a high energy show of maximum rock and roll – definitely worth checking out.

During the break in proceedings the front of the stage began to feel like a sardine can, a sense of anticipation permeated the air and the red hot glow from the valves of John Scott’s guitar amp gave warning to the volume of the aural offensive that would soon be unleashed.

The Mark of Cain took to the stage and went straight to work. This trio attack their work with military precision and get straight into it with little nonsense, it’s all business here.

The Mark of Cain isn’t like some bands, there aren’t too many energetic stage antics; instead they play with an economy of movement, where they get their energy from is their focus, intensity and the power of their songs. To right of stage you have Kim Scott; legs apart, Rickenbacker bass slung low, his face lost in a thousand yard stare as he provides the heavy bass barrage. At the back of stage you have the former Helmet drummer, John Stainer; he sits in the dark, dwarfed by a massive kit and belting out the rhythm with the power and precision of a .50 calibre machine gun. Left of stage the elder Scott sibling John, (also armed with Rickenbacker guitars) takes point duty in front of a bank of glowing amps – his method of attack is to deliver monster guitar riffs, he plays with economy and power and delivers the vocals in the same manner as a military commander barking out orders under fire. Together this trio takes no prisoners in the delivery of their brutal sonic assault.

The set drew from their impressive back catalogue – some of the highlights included Battlesick, Interloper, LMA, The Contender, (R)etaliate, You Let Me Down and First Time. They played for about an hour or so before heading back on stage and delivering a stellar version of their killer Pointman.

There are few bands anywhere that can match the sheer brute force of The Mark of Cain in full flight, I was lucky enough to bear witness to TMOC 2006 and hope this tour rekindles the fire in their belly for new material and more live shows.