Album: Tarantism (2007 Independent)
If you’re a Canberran resident under the age of thirty and you haven’t heard of Dahahoo, then you’ve been missing out on some massive parties and amazing gigs over the past 4 years. I’m not saying that if you are thirty and up, you are over the hill, it’s just that Dahahoo’s popularity has been bred from young’ns spreading the word after some pretty epic Folk Festival performances, couch destroying Phoenix Bootleg sessions and sweat drenched basement shows at the former Church Bar, now Transit Bar. Dancing is a must at a Dahahoo show. That they are now touring nationally regularly and selling CD’s interstate is of absolutely no surprise to me, as this band has always been one step away from proper national recognition, in my eyes.
Forming after vocalist/guitarist Rafe Morris played in the Pot Belly duo comp with young guitar wizard Sam King in late 2003, they sought their backing band quickly, drafting in Patrick ‘Patch’ Kennedy from the recently deceased 4FT8 and Sam’s brother Toby King from the ill-fitting metal band JAB (with whom Sam also played with for a while). The band found a local home at Belconnen’s former Ground Floor venue, playing multiple shows there through 2004-5, mastering their chops as songwriters while recording the debut album ‘Jim & The Haircut’. Sam recorded and produced all the bands’ output at his home studio, Blind Monkey, while attending Jazz school at the ANU. All Dahahoo’s songs are primarily written by the Sam/Patch/Toby team, and then demo’d and handed out to the other members to work on their inclusions.
All their tireless hard work earned Dahahoo slots at the National Folk Festival, the Multicultural Fringe Festival and then later in the year at the Woodford Folk Festival. Finally, the band drafted in a horn section, since Sam had been doubling up on horn and guitar duties since the bands beginnings. Valdis Thomann (Trombone), Nick Combe (Sax) and also Emma Kelly (Violin) added a fresh sound to the Dahahoo live show and this new incarnation rode into 2006 with a demo EP titled ‘Da-Demo’, and aspired to create a new full length that would incorporate all their new ideas and band members onto a definitive disc.
And that disc arrived early in 2007. Tarantism is one long ride of an album, and easily one of the best produced records I’ve heard come out of a Canberran independent band. Their style of funk, folk, reggae, pop, hard rock and roots music is blended together so well through their years of hard gigging and stern rehearsal sessions. Up-tempo, jumpy tunes like ‘Finah Red Winah’, ‘Don’t Know Nothin’, and ‘Stop Fucking With Me (You Bitch)’ have become live staples for getting the audience up and moving, as well as passionate sing-alongs for regular fans (dubbed by me from herein ‘Dahawhos). The band treads hard rock, almost metal territory on ‘The Wall’ and ‘More Than We Need’, and cruisier tracks like ‘Float’ and ‘When The Ice Melts’ round out an album that showcases everything Dahawho’s know and love about the band, and makes it simple to impress new listeners.
The only flaw with the album, with the band, that I’ve ever found is the sometimes weak lyrical point of view from vocalist Rafe, who seems much more comfortable singing than he does rhyming. Sometimes his intensity just doesn’t live up to the blood-rush of the tunes. However, at other times, they can go hand in hand, and when they get it right, it’s what makes Dahahoo the Canberran institution that they are today.
Next Dahahoo extravaganzas:
Far as I can tell, I can see any firm dates, however I know they are playing Corinbank, must surely be included in the Mulitcultural Fringe and again at this years National Folk Festival. Keep your ears out.
Buy Tarantism here!