RATSALAD and INXS gigs tore Geraldton apart

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
RatSalad. aim to write the kind of music you can sing to at the pub. Left to right: Ken McCartney, Jaz McCartney and Erica Trotter.
Camera IconRatSalad. aim to write the kind of music you can sing to at the pub. Left to right: Ken McCartney, Jaz McCartney and Erica Trotter. Credit: Supplied

Geraldton, we need to talk.

Homegrown rockers RATSALAD launched their latest single, 50km, with an electric show at the Freemasons Hotel on Saturday night. Where were you? Most likely down the road at the Geraldton Hotel, where INXS cover band New Sensation played to a sold-out crowd. You’re tearing us apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good cover band and New Sensation do put on a good show. But if a local music scene is ever going to kick off here, our locals need those crowds. It’s not just about showing support, it’s about money over the bar. I’m not privy to the dollar figures, but I have my doubts Freemasons made a profit on Saturday night.

That’s going to make any publican think twice before giving a platform to another local artist.

There are a select few who did turn up that aren’t escaping from the dad lecture this article has become either.

Moshing is fun, especially at such a high-energy show, but there is a limit. Not everyone in the crowd wants to get involved, and if you’re launching your mates into them, that’s only going to push them away from the pit. There were multiple times when a handful of over-zealous blokes cleared the dancefloor entirely. Yes, we appreciate you coming down and having fun, but the only way you get a bigger crowd is if people want to come back. An empty floor isn’t supporting the band.

Think of it as an investment. A savings account of delight. Put the craziness away for now, then when they’re playing huge shows you can go even harder.

It’s not like we’re just trying to prop up a bunch of garage jokers. You don’t win WAM awards for nothing. RATSALAD won one for the first song they ever released and they’ve just won their second in two straight years.

You’re only cheating yourselves because it was a great night. The few dozen who did turn out were right into it. The band fed off their energy and the crowd fed off the band’s. It was a positive feedback loop of excitement that wouldn’t have been out of place in a stadium of 60,000 – yes I’m still salty about the grand final line-up.

Possibly fuelled by a bit of liquid courage, Ken McCartney left nothing in the tank with his vocals. He came out of the gates like an angry Mongolian throat singer and kept up that intensity all night. How he made his voice last is beyond this writer and the professional singer I brought along.

It mustn’t have hurt too much though, because he was laughing and smiling the whole way.

The only one having more fun, apart from the blokes in the front, was lead singer Jaz McCartney. It must be a thing with female bass players — Peppa from Spacey Jane does it too — they jump around like energizer bunnies. Even the most docile audience couldn’t help but jump around with her.

It came through in her vocals, too. You’d expect the singer of such a heavy band to be all serious, but how can you be with lyrics like “Hook me up to the gravy IV”?

Drummer Erica Trotter was having a rough one, although it didn’t show in her performance.

Aside from getting smacked in the teeth by her own mic all night, she was having major trouble hearing the rest of her band. The first few songs concluded with her asking the sound guy for “more guitar! More vocals! More everything!”.

Trouble was, her foldback speaker was pointing at her torso.

All it needed was a tilt up and she would’ve been able to hear the sweet tunes we could in the crowd.

In the end, it all got turned up to 11 and they thrashed it out without a care in the world.

If you’re tossing up between a local act and a vain attempt to relive your youth, make the right choice — make the RATSALAD choice.

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