Photos by David Harris
The dynamic duo left nothing on the stage.
Melbourne was the first cab off the rank on Bootleg Rascal’s tour to celebrate the release of their latest double A-side, Yin & Yang, and boy was it a party for everyone who was there. Well, except for the guy in front of me who was watching a soccer game on his phone for the duration of the gig.
Frontman Carlos Lara really brought the energy and gave it his all. Donning a pair of denim overalls, he was clearly ready for a good time. Lara has said “if I stay in one spot too long, I get restless” and he proved as much at Northcote Social Club on Saturday night.
Lara and guitarist Jimmy Young have a playful presence onstage which was reflected in the crowd, especially when the pair kicked into their two new songs ‘Get Over Myself’ and ‘Tryin’ to Run’. Aptly-titled Yin & Yang, Bootleg Rascal’s new record is a departure from the reggae-rock they have previously established. The former track forayed into hip hop territory, with Lara pounding out its rap lyrics while Young added heavy guitar riffs underneath.
The party really got started during ‘Tryin’ to Run’ and it’s hard not to dance watching Lara in the zone. At one point during the show, Young turned to Lara and asked how he was wearing a beanie, to which Lara responded by removing it from his sweaty brow. There weren’t many opportunities for Lara to have a break during the set, but he managed to take a breather during the comparatively slower tempo of ‘Overflow’.
Accompanying Yin & Yang, the duo played plenty of songs off earlier albums, reminding us how the band have forged their reputation as one of Australia’s most eclectic party outfits – ‘Psychotica’, ‘Head in the Clouds’ and ‘Coming Home’ each memorable cuts from the raucous set.
Lara’s voice was well-suited to the echoey and slightly sinister feedback of ‘With You’. The chorus is so easy and fun to sing along to and the crowd really got into it.
Bootleg Rascal responded to the crowd’s request for “one more song” with gusto and parted ways with a pit stop at the merch stand. There was a good balance between upbeat and slow songs and just enough arm-waving.
With a performance that expertly combined crowd revelry and dance with technical prowess, who knows what one can expect at their remaining dates in Brisbane and hometown Sydney. It’s as if the two were born on the stage and with more new music beckoning it will be interesting to see what becomes of Bootleg Rascal come late 2019 and into 2020.
Special mention to Timi Temple who opened for Bootleg Rascal with his “R rated music and PG life” songs. Particularly enjoyed the fact he was drinking a cup of tea onstage.
Highlight: ‘With You’.
Lowlight: ‘Overflow’ was a little lacklustre.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Drop the Gun’ was the perfect singalong.