"Evil Rumours" CD Launch
X + Nanker Phelge + Sheek the Shayk
@ The Metro Roma Room, Sydney
Saturday, July 12 2003

WORDS AND PICTURES: RICHARD SHARMAN

After much anticipation Saturday finally rolled around – I had been waiting for this gig for a long time, not only to see the almighty X once again, but to catch Nanker Phelge and Sheek the Shayk for the first time. So off I went; a few beers at the Century beforehand where I bumped into Cath Synnerdahl, the X drummer, and a few other familiar faces. It was then across the road to meet a friend and to grab a quick bite to eat.

I got to the Metro early into Sheek the Shayk’s set and was confronted by a masked man prowling the stage flanked by two guitarists and a bass player, they were playing some mighty fine garage inspired rock with a touch of Black Sabbath thrown in. Some highlights of their set included "Daughters of the Revolution", "Makin' Love", "Ugly Thing", "Spin Out", "Jane Kennedy" and "Outta My Head", before closing with the Psychotic Turnbuckles standard "Groove to the Eye" and their own "Flim the Flam".

All in all a very satisfying way to start the evening – Sheek the Shayk were tight and rocking with an engaging and humorous stage presence, definitely worth checking out - although I can’t for the life of me work out how the Sheek manages to sing with that thing on his head!

After a short break Rob Younger led the boys from Nanker Phelge onstage. Nanker Phelge is a rather different beast to the last time I had seen Rob which was fronting Deep Reduction a couple of weeks earlier.

This was good fun '60s Brit rock delivered with a blistering intensity. Some of the highlights included covers of The Beatles' "Bad Boy", The Who’s "Can’t Explain" and a song also covered by The Who and the New York Dolls, "Daddy Rolling Stone".

With Rob’s vocals and Brad Fitzpatrick’s blistering guitar work and a tight rhythm section – this was good fun rock and roll. The only down side to the Nanker Phelge set was the dickhead who parked himself in front of the couch we were sitting on and obscuring the view – but it was nothing a well aimed piece of ice couldn’t fix. Right into the back of his neck and then it fell down the back of his shirt. He turned around with an angry look only to be met by blank faces that soon turned to howls of laughter as soon as he stalked off!

During the break, the Roma room quickly filled and then without any fanfare X came to the stage and proceeded to launch into the familiar dirty riff that heralds the intro to "Degenerate Boy", followed by Roy Orbison’s classic "Dream Baby". For some reason after the initial couple of songs the band seemed a little flat as they went through "Ooh Baby", "I Like You and You Like Me" and even "I Don’t Wanna Go Out" seemed a little down on the usual energy levels.

Things started to pick up when Ian Rilen started the bass line on "Good On Ya Baby" and then whole band powered into it. What followed was X in familiar territory, delivering their trademark bass driven primal rock, Ian Rilen’s trademark bass, Steve Lucas’ all-or-nothing vocals, Cath Synnerdahl’s driving drumming and the twin telecaster guitar attack of Lucas and Geoff Holmes powered.

Highlights from the latter part of the set were "Where Did I Go Wrong", a stirring and powerful "Don’t Cry No Tears", a flat-out, howling "I Love Rock’n’Roll", "All Over Now", the shriekingly powerful John Lennon epic "Mother", followed by a heavy, brooding and malevolent "Waiting". Then a breakneck "Oxford Street Nick".

The band left the stage before returning to deliver an encore - a heartfelt "Sad Days Girl" and the closing "Moving On".

After the show I was talking to a rather attractive girl who had not long arrived back from London – her words to me were "X are the greatest rock band in the world – there is just no bullshit". There was definitely no argument from me.

 

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