After finishing their album Arches Over The Sun in June, Melbourne 5 piece Khancoban took to the stage at the Toff In Town to officially launch their full length release. Having been compared in recent times to acts like Wilco and Arcade Fire, it was tough not to go along tonight expecting incredible things.
Did they deliver? Whilst clearly not in the league of the comparisons above, what Khancoban do possess in spades is the ability to deliver the Genre-du-jour – “Alt-Indie-Folk” better than a heap of their contemporaries. The melodies soar, the instrumentation varies throughout the set and a teddy bear plays the piano. All the while the laid back rhythm section of Jemima Hooke (drums) and Lucas Barbuto (Bass) underpins the set beautifully.
Current single Until It Takes You Over surprises, featuring early on in the set. It’s predictably well received, as is last year’s single This Block later in the set.
The highlight though tonight is closerÂ Limbs May Fall, a beautiful country-waltz which glides its way around the CBD venue and keeps the 200 strong crowd transfixed.
If there’s a knock on the set tonight, it’s that some songs do seem one paced, lacking a build up or high point. Although it’s quite likely that this is by design – a feature rather than a bug, if you will. The set is low key, but most definitely connects with the enthusiastic crowd, and with The Guardian already promoting their current single in the UK, Khancoban may not have to wait too long until the comparisons with big name acts don’t raise the eyebrows they may at this stage.
A really enjoyable show from a group on the rise, hopefully the album launches itself into decent radio rotation, as a sound like this deserves to be heard by a larger crowd. Can definitely see a few mid-afternoon summer festival sets in the future for the Melburnians.
Arches Over The Sun is available on CD/LP/MP3 from Departed Sounds/Other Tongues now
The Toff In Town
Listing influences like The Killers, U2, Gossip and the Kings of Leon, it’s fair to say that Van Myer were going to struggle to forge an underground-angst-ridden-indie-guitar career.
Which is probably the reason they haven’t gone down the underground-angst-ridden-indie-guitar path, and have headed for guitar and synth driven rock instead.
And why not? The sound is immense, frontman Jack Byrnes has a voice that suggests he’s listened to a fair bit of Caleb Followill’s work with the Kings of Leon, and guitarist Eamonn Holloway clearly liked some of The Edge’s work with delay pedals. What eventuates though is a sound of their own that fills this midweek venue from floor to ceiling.
So many up and coming bands seemingly compete with each other on their MySpace profiles, each listing and searching for the most obscure and unheard of musical influences as some means of showing their individuality. It was refreshing to see a band who were only too happy to wear their musical heroes’ work as a badge of honour.
Launching their new EP, Van Myer hit the stage shortly after 10pm, and delivered an energy charged set that suggested their music will work both live and in the studio. It’s great to see a front man in the ‘old fashioned’ sense – a true band leader who is there to command the audience’s attention, and not meekly ask for it.
It’s early days, but there’s a lot to like about this 4 piece from Melbourne, and hey, they’ve been played on Bulgarian radio you know…
No standard 4/4 time signatures at The Toff in Town tonight…
Indie lads This Town Needs Guns hit the stage around 10:30 for their Soundwave sideshow – sorry, ‘Sidewave’ – in front of a quiet but appreciative midweek Melbourne crowd.
They’re not the biggest indie export Oxford has produced, but at least they’ve not ditched their guitars for small whitenoise-producing boxes with one-small-knob on them. Yet. However when you’re from Oxford and you bring out a glockenspiel – I’m sorry lads, but comparisons will be drawn.
That’s not to say that these guys are your standard indie guitar slingers. In fact, they’re anything but.
Avant-garde rhythms meet with melodic guitar lines and a soaring vocal from frontman Stu Smith. With the bulk of the set showcasing their current album Animals, TTNG showed how well the complex sounds laid down in the studio transfer to the stage.
Arrows hit the stage around 9:00 on Wednesday night. Opening up for English lads This Town Needs Guns, the four guys from Brisbane entertained a growing crowd at The Toff.
Clean arpeggiated guitars were the order of the set, with some interesting rhythms thrown in as well. The vocals sounded like something from mid-nineties west coast America, but at the same time unmistakably Australian.
The four piece created sounds with a contrast between openness and full sound. It didn’t always work for me – stage presence isn’t yet in the league of the headliners – but it’s four guys who clearly enjoy doing what they do. A good recipe for a support act and Arrows did their job well tonight.
Brisbane 4 piece made the trip down the east coast, and opened up proceedings at The Toff. They clearly had a big following – front of stage was jam packed – which showed that a healthy number of punters had scoffed down their dinner and headed into Swanston Street at the very school-night-friendly time of 8pm to catch the indie 4 piece.
With a couple of early sound problems, the band soon hit their stride and delivered half an hour of tunes that got the night started on a stage that would later feature Arrows and headliners This Town Needs Guns.
The playing is loose, and the vocals at times seem almost incidental to the mix, but when things came together there’s enough to suggest that there’s a bit to work with here. A commanding frontman and a musical mix that often seems at odds with the vocals meant that – while they didn’t really do it for me – the die hards at the front of the stage soaked it up.