The Gov, Sun 11 Sep.
Musicians, friends and family assembled at The Gov for a Sunday afternoon of music and celebration of the life of beloved Adelaide musician Howard “Howie” Kehl, who passed away before his time in May, 2015. The occasion was set to honour his memory, enlisting acts with whom he had written and worked, and launching the SCALA (Songwriters Composers and Lyricists Association) Rock Music Development Award in his name
Introduced by nine-year-old ‘ impromptu MC’ Thomas S, Poundcake started off with an amped up rendition of The Kinks’ All Day And All Of The Night, before launching into a song which vocalist Kevan Keeler said had been a collaboration with Howie, Rockin’ Rollin’ Man. The audience responded enthusiastically to the guitar-heavy sound, and the band closed out with an adrenaline-fuelled take on the Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil.
Acoustic singer-songwriter (and Clothesline Editor-in-Chief) Catherine Blanch took to the stage, joined by Poundcake’s Grant “Kanga” Thiele on bass. Her voice was strong, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, as she held her own in the wake of the much louder Poundcake. Her second track, 13 Long Years, itself a tribute to another long lost friend, played as a memorial to Howie, was followed by the funkier Lay Down And Dance, a favourite of Howie’s from her repertoire, before Dino Jag joined her on guitar for a rousing finale of This Game.
Amberlist, another act Howard had played drums in, took the stage with a bit more of a grunge sound, alternating massive riffs with more subdued sections in the loud-quiet-loud manner familiar to the flannelled faithful. Opening with two songs without a break, the band continued to impress with their heavy guitar attack and thoughtfully-crafted songs, including the heavy slowburn number, Lost My Way.
Howie’s father and sister delivered a brief statement of appreciation for Howard and thanked the various musicians and organisers for their efforts, before FastMotor, featuring Superjesus’ bassist Stuart Rudd, took the stage with a fun rock‘n’roll approach, opening with the Zeppelin-esque stomper Close To The Edge, and moving through a strong, heavy grooving set that ended with a rousing cut titled, appropriately enough, Fast Motor. This was Howard’s main project before his sudden departure, with all songs and arrangements written by Kehl, and was very typical of the sound that Howie fans had come to know and love.
SCALA President, Bryan Foley, shared a few words regarding the ‘Howard Kehl Memorial Rock Music Development Award’, encouraging members of the audience to submit their rock songs for a chance at some recording time and a spot on next year’s SCALA compilation a well as a performance spot at the 2nd Annual Howie’s Kick Off.
Portrait was the final act of the day, starting out with Dino Jag leading the group through Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City and Santana’s One Chain, before handing over to Vince Contarino [Zep Boys] for strong renditions of Free’s Wishing Well and Whitesnake’s Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues. Dino and Vince joined forces to close out with a rocking version of The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There before summoning the rest of the acts to a massive jam for notorious Deep Purple super-fan Howie on Smoke On The Water.
A fabulous time was had by all as together they celebrated the life of a local legend, and it’s clear that Howie’s legacy in the Adelaide rock scene will continue to inspire, encourage new acts, and keep on rockin’ well into the future.
All images (except Howard Kehl image) courtesy of Sue Hedley @ Rising Star Media