Review: The Vernons @ Elsewhere, Gold Coast (26/06/2015)

On Saturday night Gold Coast Blues rockers The Vernons played to a hometown crowd at Elsewhere Bar in Surfers Paradise as part of the Live Along The Coast tour. Armed with a barrage of tracks old and new, the four piece gave a hot and sweaty thank you to those who have supported them since the beginning.

As support act Fika start their set the down to earth headliners can be seen mingling with the crowd, partaking in a beverage or two. Fika bring a big sound to the small room with enigmatic front woman Lily Budiasa evoking a little bit of Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. The set list ebbs and flows between rocking anthems and slower ballads, before really getting the room moving with a sultry and kick ass cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity. It is so cool that by the end of the track I am already following their Facebook page and looking out for their next show just to hear it again.

After selling out at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge the night prior, the venue is packed out by the time The Vernon’s take the stage. Plagued with the curse of a band on the cusp of success, the guys continue to work their jobs by day and belt out shows by night. But, if they are worn out, no-one can tell. They launch into an energetic set that builds to an early highlight with track To The Sky. Frontman Jonny Nyst performs like a man possessed; eyes rolling back and head moving in almost impossible arcs. All of a sudden we are transported to the deep American South with all its gospel influences, cruising down a dusty highway with a soundtrack reminiscent of The Black Keys.

Standing In Line gets a big response from the audience after some frequent radio play last year, and guitarist James Nikko battles bassist Hugh Tait for most hair thrashing in three and a half minutes. I Want Her Back At Home is a standout with a hook that catches you on its line and reels you all the way in to its cloudy depths. A song about relationships, it’s a welcome change in pace and shows a hint of the bands diversity.

A howling cover of the Isley Brothers‘ foot stomping, hand waving 1959 hit Shout closes out the night with fitting revelry. After taking out the Q Muisic award for Best Regional Song with To The Sky and touring the USA in 2014, there is a kinetic energy that surrounds The Vernons. With a sound rooted in the past they propel towards the future; threatening to explode at any minute in a riotous haze of sound and energy.

After tonight, I for one can’t wait to see the fireworks.