Always nice to see fellow gingers overcoming the prejudice society throws at them!
Pat Grossi‘s, project Active Child is a hard beast to categorize. His 2011 album You Are All I See is an offering that – to these ears at least – is a low key offering with as many lulls as it has highs.
His set tonight at the soon-to-be-no-more East Brunswick Club however is engaging and similarly low key. It’s a good venue for the bloodnut harpist, and he delivers his strange mix of harp and electro backing well.
The sound is full, defying the fact that there are only 3 musicians on stage, and Grossi’s choral voice is a staple. A past Philadelphia Boys’ Choir member, Grossi’s fascination is seemingly with the spiritual and cosmic. Often tonight though one can’t help but feel that it’s music to listen to whilst doing something else. The live setting doesn’t seem to add much to the experience, even though Grossi himself seems genuinely affable and happy to be playing his first headline show after the Laneway Festival slots.
Perhaps to the spiritual souls in the audience there’s uplifting moments, personally though, tonight didn’t really seem to get out of second gear. What’s not in question though is that Grossi’s musical ability and dedication to his somewhat strange craft – a harpist with the voice of a choirboy – sees him successful in a music climate that would make us predict otherwise.
A first for me – two Norwegian groups in as many months, though it’s fair to say that the electro offering from Tromsø natives Röyksopp is about as far removed from the set I witnessed by countrymen Combichrist last month as Norway is from Melbourne.
Comparisons therefore end here. Not that there were any to start with really. Other than being Norwegian… and dressing up.
Carrying passports bearing the names Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge , Röyksopp kick off their Big Day Out sideshow at Melbourne’s Palace complex to a packed crowd on the lower two levels. It’s a crowd that are aged the other side of thirty to many other Big Day Out revelers, but treated to Röyksopp’s first Australian tour since forming in 1998, they were in great voice. Not to mention armed with some pretty decent moves.
The opening was epic – emerging through the smoke and backlit lights, the duo, joined by a couple of bass players in costumes that probably wouldn’t have got you into Stylus back in the day, kicked off almost ten minutes of building electronica. 2005′s Alpha Male was lapped up by the crowd.
Happy Up Here followed, with Berge stepping out from behind the wall of synths to prowl the stage. Plenty of the sounds are pre-recorded, but Röyksopp seem to have the balance right between being true to the sounds and putting on a live spectacle for their fans.
A huge highlight tonight was the inclusion of The Alcoholic, the first time anything from Senior – 2010′s ambient follow up to Junior – has been played live. It’s a welcome slowdown to a frenetic first hour.
It’s a brilliant venue for the Norwegians with a dedicated local following, and by far the best Norwegian act I’ve seen this year…
Photos taken for Tone Deaf
For those who hadn’t caught LA indie-pop trio Foster The People on the Big Day Out’s green stage the previous day – or perhaps just wanted to catch them again – Melbourne’s Palace dished up that opportunity for holders of one of the hottest tickets in town.
The three piece, led by songwriter and apparent naming-rights sponsor Mark Foster, delivered a set that was as polished as the floor of the old Metro Nightclub wasn’t.
With only their 2011 album Torches under their belt, this was never going to be a long set, but after a promising opening from Brisbane act Last Dinosaurs, Foster The People burst onto the stage with Houdini, and whilst generally speaking there weren’t too many surprises – Helena Beat and Call It What You Want were obvious crowd favourites – the now obligatory encore did throw something unexpected up.
Last year, fellow LA residents Weezer covered Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks, and did a pretty damn fine job of it. So, to return the favour, Foster introduced his band’s cover of Weezer’s 1994 track Say It Ain’t So. It scrubbed up well and proved one of the night’s highlights.
Unsurprisingly, Pumped Up Kicks closed the night, and it saw Foster climb into the crowd, hoisted up by the fans on the floor as bandmates Mark Pontius (Drums) and the quite brilliantly named Cubbie Fink (Bass) watched on.
A solid set that delivered what you’d expect with a minimum of fuss, but, perhaps surprisingly, not a lot more than that. Still, as a young band about to embark on the recording of their ‘difficult second album’, they’ll return to these shores in a couple more years armed with more songs, more shows under their belts and will again play to an army of iPhones held high above heads recording the entire concert.
Perhaps by then they’ll be iPhone 5′s?
Flying under the radar may have been easier a couple of years ago for south-coasters Metronomy.
Now, with a Mercury Prize nominated album and the critical acclaim to go with it, the 4 piece returned to Australian shores with considerably more fanfare than their last trip south in 2010.
With their live lineup now bedded down (founder and principle writer Joseph Mount is joined on stage by fellow keyboardist Oscar Cash, bassist Gbenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior), Metronomy delivered a set for the hardcore hipsters and interested onlookers alike.
2008′s Night’s Out album received some breakthrough airplay in Australia, but it’s 2011′s The English Riviera that has seen Metronomy’s fanbase explode.
Around 1200 crammed into the Hi-Fi Bar. Those in early were treated to a superb 45 minute set from Melbourne duo Oscar + Martin, and after a longish break Metronomy graced the stage, opening with the moody bassline, sparse atmospherics, and seagull calls of We Broke Free
Bassist Adelekan is hard to miss, his striking black glasses, pink jeans and gravity defying hair cuting a distinctive figure against the hand painted band portraits behind the stage. Indeed it’s his bass that drives the live sound of Metronomy, Mount‘s vocals are at times inconspicuous against the pulse of the rhythm section.
After the well received Back On The Motorway, camera gear was dumped before returning for the rest of the set.
The newer tracks from The English Riviera are more structured than the artsy offering from Night’s Out, but the contrast works fantastically well, particularly in this small setting where the crowd appreciate the mix of styles. A very entertaining and danceable set from a group who will be hoping 2012 brings a continuation of the success and acclaim found in 2011.
|Gallery: Oscar + Martin
While both Oscar (Slorach-Thorn) and Martin (King) have been busy lads with side projects like Brother’s Hand Mirror and The Harpoons respectively, it’s with their self-titled duo that they continue to do their best work.
Last year’s For You was a stunning breakout album, lo-fi and with a unique sound that was as enthralling as it was unusual.
It was great to see them listed as support for touring UK act Metronomy, and there was no chance I was going to let slip the opportunity to see them again.
With their gear usually perched precariously on milk crates, tonight there were actual music stands supporting the laptops and triggers. I figured they’d got paid – Martin told me otherwise – “No, we just borrowed them”.
The two lads set about delivering their unique sound to the growing crowd at the Hi-Fi.
Opening with the brilliant Recognise, one of the standout tracks from 2011, tracks from the album For You were brought to life with the addition of female vocalists, sisters Hazel and Martha Brown. Bec Rigby, bandmate of Martin’s from The Harpoons also joined for a number of tunes. The laid back riffs and catchy hook of Do The Right Thing signalled the end of a great set.
A perfect lead in from a duo whose star is most definitely on the rise. You get the feeling that if both lads channel their energy into this project there could be some big things to look forward to in 2012 and beyond.
Saturday night, and the Forum Theatre played host to one of the best gigs of the year. Unfortunately that wasn’t THIS Saturday night, but 7 days prior when Gotye graced the stage.
This Saturday night, it played host to a double act of Black Dice & Lucky Dragons, a couple of electronica experimentalists from the USA, forming part of the Melbourne Festival.
Make no mistake. It wasn’t good.
Lucky Dragons are described as coming from the ‘post song age’, an age where music has no necessary beginning, middle or end. If that’s the brief, they nailed it at the Forum tonight.
Part nonsensical warbling, part atmospheric background, part repetitive effects generated noise, the set seemed to go on forever. Looking bored throughout, Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck never really hit the mark. In fact I’m not sure they ever really had a mark in sight. (more…)
Icehouse are having some sort of revival at present, with their Greatest Hits album White Heat currently sitting pretty inside the ARIA top 10 album chart.
Jack Daniels decided that, for their 2011 JD Set promotion they’d ask Sydney based electronic trio Art Vs Science to reinterpret a few Icehouse songs. On paper it appeared a little leftfield. In practice, it was quite bizarre.
Amid more smoke than a Bob Marley recording studio, the 3 lads from Art Vs Science took to the stage, and opened with one of Iva Davies’ biggest tunes – Great Southern Land. What struck immediately is that there wasn’t a huge amount of reinterpretation going on here, and that would prove indicative of the remainder of the evening. The songs tonight could have been performed by any cover band really, with a few guest vocalists thrown into the mix. There wasn’t any of Art Vs Science’s trademark sound injected into proceedings.
Dan McNamee showed glimpses when unleashed on the guitar of what makes their own live shows so dynamic, but even once joined on stage by guest vocalists – Tim Derricourt of Dappled Cities, Kate Miller-Heidke, and The Grates‘ Patience Hodgson, the set struggled to find a spark.
The crowd – made up predominantly, one would assume, of invited guests and not a great deal of ticket buying punters, were a mixed spread of ages. They also never really got out of second gear. There was constant chatter throughout the set and plenty of gaps up the front of the standing area.
Seekae are back home in Australia again. The Sydney 3 piece – hugely popular among the social media set – have released their second album, +Dome, the follow up to 2008′s popular The Sound of Trees Falling On People and that meant a trip down to Melbourne for a couple of gigs at the East Brunswick Club.
Jonti was on stage first, a one man synth-knob-twister extraordinaire who plays to a quiet but appreciative crowd. Getting a pretty good rep so was good to hear his work – avant-garde, unpredictable, hell even messy at times, but still pretty enjoyable and definitely in step with the style of the headliners.
Taking the stage at around 11:15, Seekae showed why their brand of ambient introspective electronica has been well received in the UK. On the whole, tonight saw the lads living up to the positivity from the mother country. (more…)
When snapping bands it’s often easy to zone out a bit, concentrate on the pictures and see the music as secondary. It’s a shame, but it happens. Not tonight though. At Miami Horror’s hotly awaited Melbourne show at the Forum, there were times when I took a break clicking from behind the lens to watch what the 4 lads from Melbourne were doing on stage.
Surrounded by 10 foot high plants and washes of colour, fluoro tubes and strobes, the electro rock outfit delivered song after song of crowd-rousing music.
Whilst the music is undoubtedly the brainchild of synth player and producer Ben Plant, live it’s the frontman Josh Moriarty who steals the show.
At times pacing the stage and interracting with bandmates Aaron Shanahan (Drums) and Daniel Whitechurch (Bass/Keys), Mariarty is the clear focal point for the audience. And all this while delivering a bunch of moves that he might actually have to pay Prince royalties for.
Either way, it works.