Tuesday, March 17, 2015
(Photograph by - Tim Doig)

While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Kingswood fan, I don’t really think there’s anything innately wrong with them, either. As such, I was curious to see what they had to offer in a live setting, and more importantly if the experience would lead to a clearer idea of what my own feelings towards the band were. 
I rocked up to the Forum to find The Belligerents already well on their way to winning over a vast majority of the early-bird crowd. No real shock, given that the band had a remarkable stage presence, particularly singer Lewis Stephenson, whose unrestrained enthusiasm often led to wild fits of mid-verse yelping and oddly riveting dance-moves. If the band were to be faulted for anything (and they really shouldn’t), it would be the fact that they inadvertently set the bar a little too high. 
Melbourne’s Lurch & Chief were the unfortunate souls given the unenviable task of following on from The Belligerents, and while they didn’t quite reach the same delirious heights, they should at the very least be commended for giving it a worthy shot. Singers Hayden Somerville and Lili Hall dedicated an admirable amount of contagious energy to the set, which pleased the true believers populating the front of the stage area to no end.
Kingswood hit the stage soon after, kicking off their set with ‘She’s My Baby’, ‘All Too Much’ and ‘Sucker Punch’. From there, every remaining track from their debut LP Microscopic Wars was offered up to the crowd with such note-perfect precision one could almost be forgiven for thinking the band were simply miming along to the original studio-recorded versions of the songs. While this was certainly not the case, it did at times come across feeling a little too polished, lacking both the unpredictable energy and subtle sense of danger often needed to transform an average rock show into a truly great one.
Quibbles aside, Kingswood delivered exactly what was expected of them by their die-hard fans, offering up a set that was not only insanely generous in length (ninety-plus minutes - quite the effort for a band with only one Long Player to their name), but which also happened to included a fantastic detour into Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, adding an extra touch of excitement near the tail end of the show.
As the night wound down and the band offered their final goodbyes, I scanned the room to observe the reactions of those around me. While my feelings about Kingwood ultimately remained unchanged (in other words, I still don’t love ‘em or hate ‘em), I was very much in the minority, with a majority of the room looking more than satisfied with what they had just witnessed. 

Written by Ben Mengel

Photographer: Tim Doig