REVIEW: Cherry Stain, The Dungeon, Saturday April 14

NEWCASTLE teen rockers Cherry Stain couldn’t have chosen a more apt name for their debut record than Beyond All Reason.

It was beyond all reason that a band of five 17-year-olds could deliver such a brilliant live performance, that is usually accomplished with the benefit of years of experience and rehearsal. These young men certainly display maturity beyond their years. 

More than 200 fans, followers, friends and family gathered at The Dungeon in Adamstown Uniting Church on Saturday night for Cherry Stain’s all-age album launch.

Bass player and vocalist Clarence Playford and drummer Rory Scott laid down tight and tasty grooves that provided a solid foundation for Sebastian McComb on guitar and Daniel Sutherland on keys to build layers of melody and atmosphere, punctuated with occasional saxophone lines by McComb.

Vocals were shared between Harlan Hammick (MC) and Clarence Playford. The timing of their delivery was perfect and filled with passion and energy. They connect with their audience who sing along and sway with the groove.

The songs referenced everyday life and name-checked local cafes and other Australian hip-hop acts. Political and environmental views also formed an important part of the dialogue, but were woven into the songs with consideration and conviction.

The music was never secondary to the message. Nothing was forced upon you. It made the message more likely to permeate your subconscious in the same way as a catchy chorus line.

Cherry Stain created a unique blend of funk-rock and hip-hop with an underlying reggae inclination. They include influences as diverse as Led Zeppelin, The Arctic Monkeys, The Police and The Beastie Boys.

Shrimp played a set prior to Cherry Stain. The shellfish name might suggest something diminutive or timid, but this could not be further from the truth.

Shrimp are a hardcore funk, psych-rock beast. They had a great stage presence and the frenetic bass lines were unbelievable. Rum Jungle were on first and played a solid set of original power pop. In summary, this was a night of youthful exuberance and the belief that anything and all things are possible.