Live Review – Twelve Foot Ninja @ Adelaide, Australia.
Reviewed by Craig Grant: What a night we have lined up tonight with Twelve Foot Ninja touring the colossal, ‘Outlier’ album on the Sick Tour. The ticket says doors at 8pm but we find out that the Ninjas won’t be on stage until 10:45pm. This leads to the bars being chocka and bodies everywhere. Luckily we have a few bands to get things going, but warming up is not too much of an issue as it’s a hot and sticky night in Adelaide. Back to the bar again to hydrate.
First up we have Colibrium and this is a first for me as I haven’t come across the band before. They released their first album early last year and I have managed to miss that as well but thankfully I was here to see them play tonight. The five-piece play progressive rock that is fast becoming mainstream and I was blown away by the tone and the strength of the performance by the band. The set was nicely put together for what is a fairly eclectic crowd. Excellent performance and I’ll be catching up with the band at some stage as their first album, ‘In Balance’, which I listened to after the gig, is an immense album for a first outing. You can find the album here and drop the digital needle on the first track, ‘Alien’ to get an idea what Colibrium are all about. Great start to the night and the band are getting nods of approval from the arms-folded, guitar-tech fans standing next to me.
Quick changeover, a sharp bar visit, and it’s time for Japam. In the words of their bass player, ‘Hi, we are JAPAM, yes that’s right JA-PAM’. So I’ve got no idea what a Japam is either but the five piece put together a set that got the early adopters going and a nice little mosh starts at centre stage and grows over the first few songs. Like Colibrium, Japam are an Adelaide band, but they have more bounce in their music compared to the band on stage before them. There is also a strong hint of 90s, or even early 00s, in their music. More pop than Colibrium, and I use that term in a radio edit sense, but they got the crowd going. Fun, fast, jangling guitars and high energy; with a nod to the excellent drumming of Jack Thomson, who got amongst it, and smashed it out the park. Not a sound I normally go for but the interaction between Japam and the increasingly well-oiled crowd was worth the admission price alone.
Time for the Ninjas and I’m down the front camera in hand. The band comes on, the place goes mental and I have a shoe between my camera lens and the band. The body drops to the ground but he is on his feet like a startled gazelle and back into the mosh he goes. Ten shots taken and I’ve moved from the stage to three rows back and I haven’t touched the ground. The Ninjas have hit the stage like an express train and it’s a shock to the senses. The Ninja pants, the crazy Ninja shoes and the technically perfect, though ear drum rattling, sound that comes from the band is right on the money. It’s crazy time and there is a lot of energy in the room.
The faces, the shirts and the haircuts of the crowd tells you everything that you need to know about the Ninjas; their music is as eclectic as their fans. Hard progressive music, onto funk, to reggae and back to deep throbbing hard-driven riffs. It’s all there and it’s only the first song. Its song after song from the two albums and, even though they are great tracks on those releases, they take on a life of their own during the gig. Song of the night is, ‘Sick’….tired of being sick or sick of being tired. Or maybe it was, ‘One Hand Killing’, not sure. The battle weary crowd rise again and it’s going off. The band are just taking it all in their stride and the road crew are getting a workout, ‘escorting patrons’ from the stage. It’s one of the craziest nights we have had for a while…and that is saying something.
The rapport between this band and the crowds across Australia is amazing but it’s only one part of this band. The communication, the image, the guitar-tech and the range of progressive music is so well put together that the audience just laps it up. The Ninjas have been to Adelaide many times and every gig grows the band and they raise the bar. It’s an awesome set. The guy next to me is being helped to his feet after the mosh, huge grin on his face but only one sleeve on the shirt. It was that sort of night.
If you haven’t seen the Ninjas then there is no excuse, get out there and get on with it. Listen to, ‘Outlier’ and marvel at the scope of this band. Listening to metal for more years than I can recall I’m often wary of hype but whatever you have read about the Ninjas – it’s not enough! The Twelve Foot Ninjas are the real deal.