The TEA PARTY– HQ – Sunday 30 June 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
Another year and another Tea Party tour. The Canadian trio have certainly embraced Australia since their first tour here way back in 1993. Lead singer and guitarist Jeff Martin now lives in Australia, such is his love for the country.
This time The Tea Party were playing intimate venues across the country, giving the fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with Jeff Martin, bassist and keyboard player Stuart Chatwood and drummer Jeff Burrows. The chosen venue for Adelaide was the new HQ venue in Hindley Street, indeed, giving the fans a chance to get up close to the band, well as close as the barricades let them. Not sure why they had the barricades in place as The Tea Party are not a band that need them.
Adelaide’s own Colibrium opened the evening with their style of edgy Nu-metal. Vocalist Chris Gard has an amazing vocal range, belting out huge, almost stadium type rock numbers as well some beautiful power ballads, as demonstrated on the track Manfrom their latest E.P. Carried. The sound of the song has more than a nod to Soundgarden. At times he reminded me of Chris Cornell and Henry Rollins, rolled into one person.
The band are tight and very diverse in the styles of songs played.
Between bands, The Rolling Stones sounded out over the P.A. Mostly Exile on Main Streetera songs, it was somehow a fitting introduction to The Tea Party. The band launched into The Riverfrom their debut album Splendor Solis,Jeff Martin showing his guitar skills right from the onset. His magnificent voice has certainly not deteriorated over the years either. As is common with The Tea Party, TheRivermorphed into Tool’s song Soberbefore returning once again to The River. The band do this so effortlessly. The Bazaarcame next with Jeff letting the crowd scream out the words “Tell my lover, come back to me” where appropriate.
Jeff promised he wouldn’t talk as much as usual, he “would let the music do the talking” and compared to concerts in the past, he kept this promise. The Tea Party do not hide their Led Zeppelin influences and before they played the first of two new songs, the blue’s drenched Way Way Down, we got a bit of Zeppelin’s In My Time Of Dying.
During the song Save Me, the band played a powerful version of Kashmir, which bought the house down. The beautiful Heaven’s Coming Down from theTriptych album gave Jeff Martin the chance to outdo Bono on U2’s With or Without You. Not a snippet of the song but almost the whole song in the middle of Heaven Coming Down.
Prior to the final song of the set, Temptation, Jeff asked us if we wanted to “hear what the world’s most powerful band sound like?” We did of course, knowing full well he was talking about his band. And powerful it was.
The instrumental Winter Solstice (another tip of the hat to Zeppelin) opened the encore before Sister Awakeshook the room. With the Stones Paint It Blackbeing played almost “punk” like in the middle, followed by Bowie’sHeroes, the song was the perfect finale. Before leaving the stage, Jeff told us they would be back next year to celebrate their 30thAnniversary.
The night just confirmed what a perfect frontman Jeff Martin is, while Jeff Burrows is a force behind the drums and Stuart Chatwood skilled at both keyboards and bass. If there was one minor issue, it is the set list. Other than two new great songs, the band only played songs from their first four albums, totally ignoring the last three. In fact, the set list probably hasn’t changed much since they reformed, as hasn’t the cover versions they do. Even the stage patter is very similar. Hopefully for the 30thAnniversary tour we get more songs from the later albums.
That said, this is probably the best I have seen the band play since getting back from their hiatus in 2011. After seeing this concert, I have to confirm what Jeff said about them being the ‘most powerful band in the world”. They are truly a force in today’s rock world.
No one left disappointed.