Video: The Mark of Cain performing Interloper live at Channel V Studios, 18 April 2001
Australia’s finest hard rock band The Mark of Cain recently returned from the hills of Adelaide for a short tour of Australia this March. Rock royalty doesn’t come much finer than having your recordings produced by Steve Albini and Henry Rollins (Incoming & Ill At Ease).
TMOC typically make us wait a long time inbetween drinks having only released a handful of full length albums in 3 decades (they formed in 1984, yes that’s pre-Helmet). It has been 11 long years for the arrival of the Joy Division inspired melodies of the Songs of The Third & Fifth (back to Battlesick days). In that time guitarist and songwriter John Scott faced a significant relationship breakdown, quit his engineering job with the defence force and struggled to record once a year with drummer John Stanier (he of fucking Helmet!).
The crowd at The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (Friday, 15 March 2013) were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the inimitable Scott brothers and their tough MF stance and spiteful lyrics. Dressed in TMOC uniform (black shirt with a TMOC patch on the shirt sleeve) and menacing haircuts they commanded a respect that only a band of 29 years in rock can elicit (either that or the fear of the secret military shit they’ve worked on!)*.
John with his guitar, cold stare and intimidating shouts, and Kim with his low slung Rickenbacker bass and legs sprawled. Sometimes when I see TMOC live I don’t actually “see” Kim as he is so low to the ground he could do the fucking limbo.
TMOC opened their set by playing First Time and followed with Second Hander. I knew from that point onwards we were in for a good night! They threw in Separatist, Milosevic and Heart Of Stone from Songs of the Third and Fifth, and they also gave us Retaliate from This is This as starters just to warm us up for the pounding thunderous beats and riffs yet to come.
The gig was also a chance to see who the Scott brothers selected as their revolving door drummer – quickly inching up to Spinal Tap’s record of combustible drummers (Stanier is drummer #13). They had the immense task of finding a replacement for the musically revered Stanier who was off touring with his other love Tomahawk.
John said that replacement Eli Green (Life Pilot) impressed them by learning their tunes in a very short time frame. The 22 year old math-noise-metal kid from Adelaide did a reasonable fill-in job on drums, but he absolutely won me over half way in when he pulled off an amazing manoeuvre to recapture a drumstick about to fly out of his control and he didn’t even miss a beat. Epic recovery!
The classics kept on flowing through the show: Hindsight, Tell Me, Contender, and my beloved – Interloper. It was a welcome journey through Ill At Ease. Fuck yeah!
Surprisingly, at the end of the intense set a psychic in the venue predicted the songs to appear in the encore: Battlesick, LMA and Point Man. We were frothing at the mouths in anticipation. She wasn’t wrong… she had spied the setlist!
Welcome back TMOC – it has been too fucking long!
* I really hope they are making bots that can dance to TMOC!
- Black Level Embassy
- Wicked City
Other samples you might enjoy:
I have one question for you: The Mark of Cain or Helmet?