Those of you that caught my entry from a few days ago will know what I think of the way that the big supermarket chains are buying up all of the pubs and bars in town and, for the most part, ruining them. However, as grim as the situation may appear to be, I’m pleased to say that it’s not all doom and gloom. While there are plenty of pubs that have gone the way of the Hyde Park Hotel (see aforementioned entry for details), places like the fabulous Rosemount Hotel are still fighting the good fight and retaining their independence while at the same time supporting quality live music. Having made a resolution to myself a while ago to make a concerted effort to go and see more live music, when a friend suggested we head down to the Rosey, as the Rosemount is affectionately known to the locals, to check out the album launch for local psych rockers Blackmilk last Friday I hastily agreed.
Now if you’ll bear with me, I’d just like to take a few moments to wax lyrical about what it is that makes the Rosemount, and bars and pubs like it, so gawd damn good. The overwhelming trend in town these days is for an ever-increasing level of ‘niceness’. There are lots of new places opening all the time, and while they may often be quirky and original and very, very cool, they all also tend to be very ‘nice’, which is fine by me, nice is good, I like nice just as much as the next man, but I don’t like it all the time. If you’re like me then you relish different places for different things, and if I’m going out to see a kick-ass rock band play live, I don’t want ‘nice’. After all, kids, real rock’n’roll isn’t supposed to be pleasant and well-ordered with clean carpets and a modern minimalist décor now is it? It’s not a polite waiter in a clean uniform, but rather Bon Scott in a leather jacket and scuffed blue jeans riding Angus Young’s shoulders around stage like a demented hard rock pony; charming and entertaining but also a slightly dirty and threatening. It should be a little rough around the edges, laid back and not too expensive, and so should the places in which it is played. And this, my dear friends, is why the Rosey is so great. It’s big, the clientele are denim-clad and unpretentious, it does decent pub food at decent prices and the drinks are reasonably priced (well as reasonable as they can in the land of the cashed up FIFO bogan), but above all else they consistently put on good live music.
On the bill last Friday were Rachael Dease, The Love Junkies, Diger Rockwell and, of course, Blackmilk. Meeting a few of my usual partners in crime, we lubricated ourselves with a few glasses of Weston’s Stowford Press cider (a particular favourite of ours) and then headed in to catch the opening act. Part of what I like about going to see local gigs like this one is having absolutely no clue about what you’re going to see and having to assess everything on its merits, something that is definitely very hit and miss, but does often lead to some pleasant surprises. Opener Rachael Dease turned out to be one such surprise with her one woman act of chilled out, emotive electro tunes delivered by the use of a tweaked electric dulcimer. She had a great voice with a kind of Nancy Sinatra meets Amy Winehouse feel. Very entertaining and original. Next up were Love Junkie, a trio of precocious young fellows that proceeded to assault the eardrums of all those pleasant with a wave of garage rock noise that sat somewhere between Nirvana and The Strokes with a few dashes of Black Sabbath thrown in for good measure. They were good, not really my cup of tea, but they did bring with them a bit of a rent-a-crowd consisting entirely of attractive young women, so they obviously have some appeal, and what do I know anyway? Sadly Diger Rockwell’s set coincided with a group desire to rehydrate using fermented apple products, but I did catch a sliver of his act on the way back in and it seemed to be an interesting mix of electronica and live instruments so I’d definitely be keen to see him again and check him out properly. Headline act and proud parents of a brand new album, Blackmilk, finished up proceedings with a polished set of energetic rock that leant towards the psychedelic side. They put on a good show, but again it wasn’t entirely my bag, or as I wrote down in my notes for the night, “good live act but nothing that grabbed me by the bollocks”.
So folks, if you have a live music itch that needs a good ole scratchin’, then I highly recommend that you head down to the Rosemount Hotel sooner rather than later. For our part, we had a grand old time. The sound quality was good, the drinks were plentiful, there was a crap reggae band playing in the front bar and we may or may not have indulged in a little tequila. But beyond all that, the place just feels right; you can relax, let your hair down and rock out without having to worry about being in any way ‘nice’, which I think is something that we all need every now and again.
P.S: I also saw Aussie hip hop legend Urthboy there a few weeks ago, which was a great show and an awesome night, but I was too pissed and having far to much fun to review it, so sorry about that one guys!