There is an undefinable air about Underwood Mayne that draws the eye while they are setting up to perform. You find yourself wondering if you've seen them play before at another venue, or if you've met one of the members at a random gig. However as soon as those first raucous riffs come tearing out of the sound system, you realise what it was that seemed so familiar about them. They have genuine star quality.
I saw people stagger back from the stage once the band started, as though compelled by the sheer wall of sound that is blasting them in the face. Imagine a supergroup made up of members of Jet, Wolfmother and the Rolling Stones. On crack. Chuck in a hard-edged, mid-heavy sound that's fresh and wholly their own, and you have a set by these talented performers. Of particular note are the juicy tracks "Said Hello" and fresh new single "Flowers Of Stone" The heavily instrumental "Can't Believe It" takes a psychedelic journey from hard hitting blues-rock through to angsty grunge tones towards the end. This is a group that knows how to grab you by the hair and hang on.
The driving melodies and shrieking keys of Euan Lovell are perfectly balanced by the groovy precision of bass player Michael De Salvo, who is so laid back he looks like he is jamming along with a funky Parliament record in his lounge room. The chaos was carried by thundering drums that hit at the very core. Lead singer and guitarist Sam Wylie does his best to shred both his vocal chords and guitar strings during the course of the tightly controlled chaos that is their 45 minute set. I swear I saw sparks fly from his ring clad fingers as his classic axe screams through the authentic, high-octane riffs that Underwood Mayne are so well known for. One can't help but wonder where all the band members, at the tender ages of 23 and 24, attained their rock pedigrees.
The boys bang out one vintage, blues-inspired rock tune after another without the first sign of fading. Quite the opposite in fact: through the course of the set the room fills with an electric energy that sees even the most jaded rock stalwarts in the crowd tapping a foot or nodding along in time to the band's cow bell spell. Rock zombies, dancing to the tune of their gods. Underwood Mayne doesn't so much perform their music as become possessed by it, dragging the audience along with them every step of the way.