Astor Theatre, Perth WA
October 21st, 2017
Support: Ragdoll and Legs Electric
The sense of déjà vu was indeed strong on Saturday night as Sebastian Bach once again hit the stage at Perth’s iconic Astor theatre. It was just over two years since he last brought his ‘heavy metal’ to the sunset coast, and punters could be forgiven for confusing the two shows.
Just as the last time, local femme-force Legs Electric opened up the show with a bang. They didn’t waste any time smashing out their own brand of contemporary heavy rock. It is no surprise that they have supported so many great international acts over the past few years as this is a band that owns the stage and makes every venue and every crowd their own. Equal parts solid musicianship and ‘humble’ punk-rock attitude (if there ever was such a thing) serves to carry Legs Electric above most of their local contemporaries. As per usual, they set the bar ridiculously high and left the crowd with grins from ear to ear.
Next up was Ragdoll, the self-proclaimed ‘hairiest power trio’ of Perth. Citing Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as influences would not surprise anyone who has come across this energetic crew who powered through a set of groove and rhythmic rock. Although attendance was somewhat lacklustre for a Saturday night, Ragdoll had the majority of the punters out of their seats, dancing and singing along to most of the tracks. The band was tight, loud and their enthusiasm and love for rock ‘n’ roll was infectious.
There was a great sense of camaraderie, joy and expectation at the Astor. The crowd, many in their late 40’s, eagerly awaited the main attraction for the evening, Sebastian Bach, and there was a mad rush to the front when the house lights dimmed and his band walked out on stage. Sebastian, ever the joker, hid behind the bassist during the bluesy intro to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’, emerging to the roar of the crowd with a gleeful grin. He continued this mellow tone with ‘Breaking Down’, which clearly seemed to confuse the crowd. Most were there to re-live their teens and remember how they as 18 year olds were the “Youth Gone Wild”, and this somewhat sombre start was not necessarily what they had expected, putting a temporary dampener on their nostalgic trip down memory lane. However, that quickly changed when ‘18 & Life’ kicked in. Sebastian whipped the fans into a frenzy, and had them eating out of his hand with ‘I Remember You’ and ‘Slave to the Grind’.
You can’t fault Sebastian Bach’s showmanship. He has been a rock royalty for over three decades, and he knows how to work the stage and the crowd. Bach delivered jokes, personal anecdotes and charisma in abundance, and just like last time, running up and down the stage, swinging his mic like a bullroarer far out over the crowd’s heads. What was lacking, however, was perhaps the youthful energy of the early 90’s. His physique seemed to hold him back where age shouldn’t have mattered, and out of breath, he struggled to hit certain notes. That said, Sebastian Bach delivered a solid performance to his wide-eyed followers who were so engrossed in the show that none of the aforementioned criticisms hardly mattered or even registered at all amongst the worshipping crowd. Many of the songs were on the soundtrack to their lives after all, and Bach gave them what they wanted. ‘Piece of Me’ and the more recent (and re-named) ‘Australian Metalhead’ kept the fans screaming for more, and more they got when he finished the regular set with ‘Youth Gone Wild’. The encore, just like last time, was a tribute to our very own local rock royalty and legend Bon Scott, and Bach closed the night with a decent rendition of ‘T.N.T.’, going out with a bang.