You’re probably not going to meet a band who gives it their all like The Southern River Band does anytime soon. Listening to their latest record, the country-infused rock opera Rumour & Innuendo, you can feel the blood, sweat and beers radiating automatically. It’s that pure energy that has seen them touted as one of Australia’s most promising rock acts, and it’s what had punters flocking to catch them on their latest tour.
Thank fuck photographer Maclay Heriot was there to capture all the action because, honestly, just looking at these photos we can feel the back to back hangovers from those delicious Southern Comforts. Chuck the album on, slide into some Wranglers and get lost in the vibes below, which George Hatzigeorgiou (with help from frontman Cal Kramer) sums up perfectly:
It’s a Saturday night in Melbourne’s Gershwin Room.
A rectangular box with a stage up one end and the sweat of a million gigs soaked into its hallowed walls. The room, a shrine to the worship of live music is buried deep in the back of The Espy, that famous Melbourne beer barn by the sea.
Tonight Perth’s favourite sons The Southern River Band are owning that well-worn stage. With their amps set to stun, the band are in full flight on their ‘Rumour & Innuendo’ national album tour.
Four boys from The West throwing down a serve of sizzling rock ‘n’ roll that they are fast becoming famous for. Punters punch the air and the room is chock full of smiling faces, it’s pretty much what happens at every SRB show. It’s a good fucking time. The best you can have with your clothes on.
Just as it all starts getting real good and sweaty, some overly excited crew up the front struck by the riffage begin a sloppy circle pit. They are well into the music, but are subsequently all elbows and knees, jostling anyone and everyone in their way.
Just then The Southern River Band’s spindly livewire frontman Cal Kramer puts the brakes on. While he’s glad for their enthusiasm, he’s also mindful of the people that might not want to take part in the more physical aspect it involves.
“Team, that shit doesn’t happen at a Southern River Band show,” he implores over the PA. “While we love that you’re feeling it, there are women up the front here copping a few too many hip and shoulders, so let’s take a couple of deep breaths and regain our equilibriums, hey? We want everyone in here to have as good a time as we are, let’s dance!”
With that the band reignite and everyone goes off again, albeit with the personal space of their fellow punters in mind.
It goes to show, just because people associate young male rock bands with some arcane image of marauding hoards pillaging through towns and exercising hedonistic abandon, in 2019 things have changed. And thank fuck for that.
The Southern River Band may well look back over music past and cherry-pick elements to come up with their own rock ‘n’ roll mash, sure – there’s drinking, good times, partying and the occasional nefarious pursuits – it is rock ‘n’ roll after all – but there’s also a friendly message to not be a shit cunt.
It’s evident in their live shows, and it’s evident on their latest album Rumour & Innuendo. Eight killer songs written by a guy in his mid- 20’s, dealing with the modern-day shit that gets thrown at us all, keyboard warriors, heartbreak, drug addiction and the trials and tribulations of modern life all set to a bunch of anthemic, swinging rock tunes.
The Southern River Band show that you can still play rock ‘n’ roll in 2019, but you can do it without being a dick.
Thank fuck for The Southern River Band, and thank fuck for rock ‘n’ roll.