The Aussie 3-piece come back for a triumphant return to The Boat that Rocks, promoting the latest album, Water For Thirsty Dogs.

It’s another early start, with a ten o’ clock curfew to make room for the club night to follow. The 7.15 pm start means a short 25-minute set for opening band, Everyday Circus. The four-piece from Germany are on their first trip to the UK and have come to make themselves heard.

Marc Weber on guitar, keys & background vocals, Simon Muller on drums, Matteo Schwanengel (lead vocals and guitar) and Eren Selcuk (bass) have been together since 2010 and have just released their debut album, Mirrors.

Tonight’s six tracks are lifted from the album, and are all rocking with the band making full use of the small stage space afforded them. Doing his best to involve the crowd, Matteo leads the ‘Hey Hey’ intro to “Round and Round”, which builds to big finish. The best is saved for last with “Moving Along” leaving the growing crowd all warmed up.

Hailing from Manchester, UK, Federal Charm are no strangers to Bristol. Nor are Nick Bowden (vocals and guitars), Paul Bowe (guitars), L.D. Morawski (bass), and Danny Rigg (drums) strangers to each other; they are a tight band at the top of their game.

Federal Charm played a set of tracks mostly from their recent album, Across The Divide, getting the fans and boat rocking. “Guess What”, the new single, is a catchy, head rocking, radio-friendly song, which has been getting good airplay on Planet Rock.

“Give Me Something” starts off with Nick on harmonica, leading into a country-rock drinking song, finishing with the obligatory, ‘Yee haw!’

Maybe the drink is taking effect as Paul asks the crowd ‘Are we really on a boat?’

‘Yeah’ replies the crowd.

‘Oh shit!!’ exclaims Paul.

“Reaction” is suitably named, with the audience clapping the intro. The crowd enthusiasm builds as the band takes over carrying the beat.

Before too long, it is to the last song, and its back to where it started with “Gotta Give it Up”, the first track from their debut album. Nick and Paul swap guitar licks at centre stage, and the crowd are left wanting more.

Tracer is back in Bristol to a now packed boat. Michael Brown (guitar and vocals), Jett (bass), and Andre Wise (drums) take the stage following an intro piece about rock and juvenile delinquency. Thunderous applause rings throughout the room, as they launch into “Us Against The World” from the new album. It’s a hard, loud rock anthem, perfect for the party crowd who eagerly shout along with, ‘Hey hey hey!’

Jett is prowling the stage in his usual style, and Andre is giving a lesson in how to play rock drums. Michael has the crowd eating from his hand as he encourages audience participation at every opportunity.

“El Pistolero” leads to a guitar solo with a snippet of “Whole Lotta Rosie” thrown in and then it’s straight into “There’s A Man”. Jett gets a big cheer for his bass solo as Michael empties his shoe of a stray stone.

The crowd is singing along again. The set moves on at a steady pace, the tight schedule leaving little room for chat between tracks.

“The Machine” couldn’t be more aptly named, as it features a great drum solo from Andre.

“Lazy” and “Dead Garden” are followed by Michael telling the crowd ‘It’s good to be back on this boat thing, before letting on that he is amazed that people in England want to come and see this band from Australia.

Crowd favourite “Devil Ride” comes next, including a singing contest between the two sides of the boat. Michael declares it a draw, but it’s clear that Jett’s side won.

The title track from the new album, Water For Thirsty Dogs, finishes the main set, before a quick encore of “Astronaut Juggernaut” has the crowd singing along again.

The well mixed set is over too soon, Tracer once again proves they are a fantastic live band. Grateful for support, the band takes the time to meet and greet fans after the show.

Photos by Donna Coombs

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Federal Charm
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Everyday Circus
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