Perth Sound & Found: Reviews
Ball Park Music

Saturday 17/11/2012 @ Capitol

  • By Daniel White
Ball Park Music greeted a sold out show at Capitol on Saturday night after local act The Voltaire Twins carved it up early in place of Melbourne band Loon Lake, who didn’t make it to the Perth leg of Ball Park Music’s 180 Degree National Tour.
Opening to a thunderous roar from Perth die-hards, it seemed only fitting that the opening track, Fence Sitter, off their latest full length kicked the night off. Quickly followed up by their breakout hit, iFly went down a treat with fans who had come hoping to hear a good mix of new and not so new Ball Park, their first album having only been released just over a year ago.
Reproducing their new songs to a live audience had looked like a mammoth ask, given the production quality of Museums, but the quintet never faltered, banging out song after song of the quirky, clever rock that they have become so well known for.
Just when it couldn’t have gotten any better, the crowd were treated to a Frankie Valli number, December 1963(Oh what a night), which was a true compliment to the evening and a fine example of what a polished and refined unit Ball Park have become since bursting onto the Australian music scene.
Rounded out by It’s Nice To Be Alive, the night was a hit and left the audience electric and wanting more. After a roaring chant, Ball Park came back on stage and busted out a final encore, during which front-man Sam Cromack dived out into the audience and crowd surfed, before alighting back on the stage and coming back in perfectly to conclude the night with a final burst of vocal brilliance and show why Ball Park Music are the band to look out for in your gig guide this coming year.
Perthquake 2012 (Part 2)

Saturday 10/11/2012 @ The Chamber 

  • By Ellie Hutchinson

It didn’t take much to get the small but enthusiastic crowd at Perthquake ricocheting off the walls, and in the case of Karratha natives Common Bond, all it took was one word: ‘sup’. 

As soon as picks hit strings and sticks hit drums, it was game on – and with beardy frontman Corey entreating the crowd, ‘come on, I’ve seen you guys, I know what you can do!’ there was no option but to play along. Within moments my partner in crime was whispering ‘The Acacia Strain…Bury Your Dead…THE BLED!’ in my ear, high praise indeed for a band that’s only been on the scene since late 2010. Praise well-deserved, however…with consistent vocals, unusual breakdowns and even – shock, horror – decent singing, CB are a tight, well-oiled machine of awesome. With Devyn and Jackson on guitars, Jarryd on bass and Bodhi on drums, they harness a contagious brand of energy; most notably in crowd favourites Disconnect and Break Yo Self Fool. Easily the fastest song of their set, Disconnect is furious, unrelenting and in my humble opinion, reminiscent of hardcore stalwarts The Ghost Inside (who happen to be one of their main influences). As Corey introduced Break Yo Self Fool – ‘this worked well last time we played it at HQ’ – the kids went so kerr-azy it left me wondering if AA metal shows had always been so acrobatic, or if I’d just been away for too long. Finally finishing with Chambers, which is something of a vehicle for Corey’s impressive vocal range, I was left wanting more. These dudes are a class fucking act. 

To wrap up proceedings in killer style, beloved Perth band Mandalay Victory was up next. Having shared the stage with the likes of Parkway Drive, Deez Nuts, The Amity Affliction and Enter Shikari, Mandalay’s reputation precedes them, and for good reason – they’re seasoned veterans of the scene. With Dane Warren on vocals, Byron Turner and Matt Falcon on guitar, Alex Earle on bass/backup vox and Matt Gerber on drums, you wouldn’t think that a band could display the level of professionalism and humility that they do and still manage to be BRUTAL – yes, in capitals – but these guys are living, screaming, sweating proof that it’s possible. With mega heavy guitar work, strong vocals and driving drums, a frenetic pit encircled them within seconds and wouldn’t let up. Luckily for a chosen few, Dane is generous with the mike shares and definitely made some young whippersnappers very happy as a result. Adding to the easygoing vibe of the set was the photographer who would sporadically appear on stage, roam around, take a few shots and then disappear again – which just cemented my opinion that in spite of their ever-growing popularity, they still have their Vans planted firmly on the ground. With their new material bringing to mind my favourite melodic masters Misery Signals (try saying that three times), you be the judge - http://www.myspace.com/mandalayvictory 

Perthquake 2012

Saturday 10/11/2012 @ The Chamber

  • By Shaun Pulford
When I first heard about Perthquake, I hadn’t heard of quite a few bands on the festival line up, what I expected was a few good bands, maybe some average ones too, boy was I wrong. What I heard was nothing short of amazing and Its not often that Perth gets a good shake, rattle & roll (sorry) but when it does, boy do the mosh lawds of Perth know how to come out in force. New all ages venue The Chamber with Perthquake provided exactly this, a 9hr harmonious gesture featuring some of Perth’s finest Metal & Metalcore acts who kept the crowd pumped before the festivals headliner, Mandalay Victory.
Opening up first was Our Fallen Legacy who know how to put on a performance, opening with what you would expect from them, a brutal opening high scream and great sounds that followed, making the crowd rowdy. The small crowd for opening didn’t stop them from giving a great performance, There was no shortage of great performances from The Moment We Fall who were next bringing with them the bands unique style of Post Hardcore with their songs Pressures, Life As A Silhouette. Although at times lacking a little on the higher vocals, still gave a great performance, Remember The South bought a unforgettable set, opening up with some light hearted banter and shaking the foundations with their heavy sounds, brutal screams and charisma, the bands performance being more memorable with the lead vocalist coming down to ground level singing and having a good laugh with the crowd.
Spilt Cities Build/Rebuild EP Launch

Friday 28/09/2012 @ The Beat Nightclub

  • By: Tristan Mamotte

I did have some trouble finding the Beat, having never been there before and unfortunately after being redirected to the Bird (“Do you guys know where Beat is?” Bouncer: “Yeah its just down the street couple of shops before the Train station” “Not the Bird.. the Beat?” Bouncer: “Yeah”) I arrived for only the end of Antelopes set. My advice for future navigators is don’t ask bouncers for directions cos you might miss out on some hectic, yet ultimately shit-balls awesome music. Combining your usual post-rock fair with tribal drumming and a fair bit of noise and samples Antelope created something somewhere between 65 Days of Static and Radiohead, without the latter’s predisposition to smooth licks and strained vocals. These guys set the bar high really early on and I would strongly recommend that you go see them. 

Only Hope opened with ambient strains of guitar feedback driven in part by violin bow and in part by a supremely tight rhythm section, they burst into a wall of grinding power chords and searing guitar leads. Driven by the sort of live intensity that most bands aspire to, OH set out to command and conquer the Beat one break-neck track after the other. Front-man Jacob “Unknown Last Name” dominated the stage despite his relatively small stature (compared to his band-mates), spitting fire and brimstone on those unfortunate or lucky enough to be caught in his relentless onslaught. Howling and growling his way through the set, the man barely needs a microphone, despite the churning riffage and thunderclap beats. Shuddering to a halt amidst squealing guitars and a seemingly endless shimmer of cymbals Only Hope opened the night up to a world of hurt. 

Not content with the amount of dancing room the stage provided Foxes moved 60% of their personal off the stage and onto the dance-floor, embodying the phrase “up in your grill”. Short of actually jumping onto people Foxes’ live show is as close to the punishing antics of Dillinger Escape Plan as a band who list Sigur Ros in their influences is likely to get. DEP these guys are not, what they are is a pleasant strain of shoe-gaze mixed with the aggression and anguish of post-hardcore bands such as Eleventh He Reaches London and ATDI. Off kilter rhythms and angular noisy leads mix to create something set apart from your run of the mill hardcore groups. 

Spilt Cities took the stage amongst a packed floor, unassuming and quite polite (like Walter Cronkite) you could mistake these young fellows for an Indi-pop group. 3 minutes in though any doubts were  dissuaded from the room and while Spilt Cities have there fair share of melodic breaks, reverb drenched guitar and angsty vocals they hit as hard as they hug. Alternating between slow builds reminiscent of Bloc-Party and Mogwai and soaring choruses probably representing the heavier aspects of those bands and then some. Post-hardcore is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, often to bands that would just as easily fit into punk or math-rock, however Spilt Cities embody the truest aspects of the genre sounding like a conglomerate of the genre’s early noughties heyday. Somewhat calmer than their forerunners for the evening the boys won over the crowd with a tight and earnest performance, launching their new EP onto welcoming ears. 

Mc Lars ‘Edgar Allen Poe EP’ tour with 10 past 6 and Faim:

Monday 01/10/12 @ The Den, The Civic Hotel

  • By: Alexandra Baker 

The night starts off at The Den, The Civic Hotel’s offering to the local music scene. The place is suitably small and nearly empty when I arrive, save for the first support band Faim setting up their gear and Mc Lars himself chilling out in the corner with fans, energetically discussing topics such as the local music scene and quokkas over boxes of Chicken Treat. This scene frames the entire night for me; friendly and intimate. Mc Lars stands front row centre for his support bands, watching with rapt attention and congratulating both on their performances afterward. He states later that; “I have no fans in Perth, only friends.” It’s all a welcome change from pretentious international acts, hiding backstage and limiting contact with fans to hurried, half hearted autographs and a few words. 

5 piece Faim kick the night off with entertainingly high energy antics and the surprising mix of the powerfully theatrical yet clean vocal stylings of frontman Noah Skape against simplistic, 70s/80s dirty punk-rock. Noah’s stage presence calls to mind figures such as Freddie Mercury, all eyes in the room are focused on him as he catapults through the crowd, poses on top of amps, somersaults, performs Charlie Chaplin impressions between songs and generally does everything except actually singing from the stage. The rest of the band create great contrast, although similarly interesting to view (the drummer’s hair is a shade of toxic green and the token female bass player is suitability cute and indie) the static backdrop they create accentuates the interest created by the frontman notorious for stripping off his clothes and destroying instruments during gigs.

10 past 6 are on first impression, quite a typical Australian pub rock act. However, their meat and potatoes approach to hard rock is livened up with boundless energy and charisma which certainly got the venue going. With a boyish charm, they powered through their set stopping only to discuss playing older songs, banter with the crowd and share the single delay pedal that they owned.  After reaching the top 8 (out of 60) in a battle of the bands competition at the Rockingham Hotel earlier this year and with a self titled EP set to be released later this month, these are four boys to watch out for. 10 past 6 are continuing their ‘Flying High’ Australian tour this month with shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. 

Finally the headliner, rapper MC Lars took to the stage armed with his Mac laptop, homemade animations, a cocky, confident swagger and tracks sampling artists including Goyte, Teagan and Sara, Zebrahead and Iggy pop. His interesting new approach to music involves literature inspired hip hop which he calls lit-hop. Through his background as a 19th century literature major in college Lars tackles literary bigwigs such as Moby Dick; Ahab, and even Shakespeare; Hey there, Opelia, in his songwriting. The entirety of his new Edgar Allen Poe EP is similarly based on the poetry of Poe, taking on an educative role with lyrics which explain the fundamental mechanics of rhyme in a poetical sense through the form of modern day hip hop in the song Floe like Poe. Rather than standing at a gig, the feeling is created of being in class with the world’s coolest English teacher. 

The show is rife with audience participation, Lars makes the usual requests; hands in the air, jump ect but also brings out a raven puppet, featured in the music video for his song Floe like Poe which needs to be operated during Mister Raven and freestyles at one point about items found in the collective pockets of the crowd. It’s moments like this which reinforce the sense of frivolity prevalent through the whole set. Lars never seems to take himself too seriously; his songs poke fun at the music industry and popular culture in songs such as Hipster girl and Signing Emo, and even sci-fi with the darker Lars attacks.  The set is finished off with the popular single Download this song, a top 30 hit in Australia back in 2006 which seems to be the favourite of the night judging by the reaction from the crowd. MC Lars Edgar Allen Poe EP tour continues with dates over east and is definitely one to check out for tongue in cheek fun with a hip hop flair. 

Check out the photos on our Facebook page, courtesy of Chris Webster Photography. 
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.493519654005399.128005.248203365203697&type=1 

GLORIA IRONBOX ‘1 X BAD CATARAMAN’ EP LAUNCH WITH THE MIDNIGHT MULES, WIZARD SLEEVE AND RAGING LINCOLNS: FRIDAY 07/09/12 @ YAYAS

GLORIA IRONBOX ‘1 X BAD CATARAMAN’ EP LAUNCH WITH THE MIDNIGHT MULES, WIZARD SLEEVE AND RAGING LINCOLNS: FRIDAY 07/09/12 @ YAYAS

  • By Ellie Hutchinson

‘It’s gonna be a ball tearer!’ boasted the event page for Gloria Ironbox’s EP launch and as I dashed into Ya-Yas, I could tell it was no empty promise (despite not having the balls to tear). With its signature purple decor and images of Dylan, Hendrix and Edie Sedgwick adorning the walls, Ya-Yas is one of my favourite live music venues in Perth- and judging by the packed-to-bursting crowd that night, I’m not alone.  I found a spot so close to the stage I was practically on it and settled back, beer in hand, as Raging Lincolns kicked off proceedings. 

With her deep, carrying voice, frontwoman Babe Lincoln is a breath of fresh air in a scene stale with oh-so-pretty, breathy female singers. Her voice isn’t pretty, but that’s what takes the Lincoln’s bluesy sound to the next level- she possesses a power both soulful and raw. With the help of fellow bandmates- Afro on guitar, Reverend ‘Keys’ on, ahem, keys, Benny Bones on bass and Lincoln Smash on skins- she belted out tunes like S.H.Y.T, Zombie Fight Club and a stellar cover of Johnny Cash classic Folsom Prison Blues. It was an all-too-short half hour set, but they ended on a high with fan favourite Fightin’ and Feudin’- a rollicking, whiskey-soaked, piano-house sing-along of a song. These guys are generating nothing but rave reviews, so here’s another- they’re well worth the ringing ears. GO SEE.

Wizard Sleeve were next on the bill and yes, as their name would suggest, they play rude‘n’ dirty. Moustachioed, bespectacled frontman Brandon Wilks was a joy to watch, dancing around the mic stand with abandon as he unleashed his unique brand of vocals- think Jim Morrison meets SuperGiant. LOUD is obviously their prerogative- but in spite of their grungy, fuzzed-out stylings, I was dancing the whole time. You can definitely move to this band- a point Brandon really drove home, as he didn’t stop moving once. Richie and Rusty took no prisoners with their brutal guitar work, and the rhythm section didn’t disappoint either- Glen (bass) and Adam (drums) have frantic chemistry, playing off each other perfectly. It was somewhere towards the end of their set that I realised I was jostling for space in a nearly packed-out bar- job well done, fellas.

Ya-Yas favourites The Midnight Mules sauntered on stage next, pre-requisite beers in hands. They blasted straight into single PoP CoC, a joyous, exuberant little tune that never fails to fill the floor. A couple of new songs followed suite- the heartbreaking If I Could Be and Vampire Weekend-inspired Hey, hinting at a new direction for the band. The Mules are known for their cheeky, Brit Pop sound, and with his signature golden mane and hilarious quips, frontman Tom Mantle has more charisma than you can poke a stick at. By comparison, lead guitarist Chris is the ‘quiet achiever’ (although his solos are anything but); bassist Vinnie strolls around the stage like he’s going on a particularly badass walk in the park; and ‘meat and potatoes’ drummer Matty keeps it all together with his chugging drums. Signing off with Lonely Road, another floor filler that had everyone dancing, it’s easy to see why their EP-in-the-making is being produced by Novocaine Corey Marriott- a sure sign of wicked things to come. Stay tuned.

As they took the stage hostage with a cacophony of overwhelming sound, Gloria Ironbox clearly saw no need for anything so petty as an introduction. Guitarist Martin Kruit and bassist Bob Gordon sculled pints of water like they’d just escaped the desert, while drummer Joshua Barker destroyed his kit with a Walter White snarl. He was wearing a Breaking Bad shirt, so I guess that makes sense.

 If I could sum this three-piece up in one word, it would be: rambunctious. They’re all about real, gritty, rock’n’roll mayhem; they’re not all about ‘having shit indie clothes or hipster hair’. (Direct quote). There are no bells or whistles here- just a shitload of driving drums, slamming strings and noise. But good noise. The kind of noise you can dance to, as proven by the swarm of punters grooving near the stage. Whatever noise they’re making, it’s clearly working, as they’ve just made it to the state finals of NCBC (National Campus Band Comp). Get on it.

Live Review - Sofar Sounds First Perth Show! Tim Hart (Boy & Bear), Patient Little Sister, Spoonful of Sugar & Felicity Groom!


Perth So Far,

This Is How Music Should Be Heard Live

“Welcome to our lovely Living room! “Announces Karin Paige our host, whilst 30 or so music lovers, friends and artists comfortably arrange themselves around the beautifully illuminated room, many found space on the floor with cushions and a glass of wine, others by a mantle over the fireplace, a beer in hand trying to avoid knocking any knick knacks off as they leant against it.

This was the setting for the 169th SoFar Sounds Event worldwide, held in Karin of Spoonful of Sugar’s North Beach Home.  The Event for the unfamiliar is a Global Movement founded in London, based on highlighting an artist’s natural talent, while remaining as stripped back, intimate and pure as possible.  The night is recorded and then later uploaded to be seen by a far wider audience of music lovers.  The rules involved are as such, the event remains a secret, even the line-up is kept secret from the performers themselves, and the audience remain absolutely silent during the artist’s performance, as to improve the recording’s quality and truly create a SoFar Sounds experience.

The first performer of the night was none other than Tim Hart of Boy & Bear, who is touring nationally to promote his first Solo Record “Milling the Wind.” His brand of Acoustic Folk while musically is not too dissimilar to his counterparts in Boy & Bear, in creating dramatic musical climaxes and peaks in melody to beats of silence that have just as much (if not more) impact. Tim’s skill as a lyricist is mesmerizing, his ability to draw you into the journey of the characters he creates makes you feel truly apart of the story.  He was then accompanied by Stu Larsen; his Tour Manager and Supporting artist to perform one of his songs together, Stu’s electrifying performance was just as impressive with pitch perfect control of his voice, and harmonies with Tim as he played Acoustic Softly beside him.  This is how music should be heard live.

Following on from Tim was Patient Little Sister, a brother sister duet, performing on acoustic and violin respectively.  Their performance while not as atmospheric was more upbeat while being steeped deeply in Irish Folk along with clear influences from Bob Dylan, the chemistry between the two was clear as they playfully bantered between each song creating a positive and uplifting vibe.

Spoonful of Sugar the hosts for the evening, kept the vibe going following on from PLS, They opened with “Not Today” from their current EP playing what I’d like to coin as Sunshine Acoustic Pop, being very uplifting and melodic acoustic songs.  They then went into a sadder song after Karin gave everyone some context around the lyrics, of a mother, and her daughter’s understanding of a tragedy, this deeply involved everyone drawing the crowd into the story and subject matter.

To close the night was Felicity Groom, who has built herself quite a reputation in Perth as an accomplished Songwriter and Composer, often Supporting John Butler.  Felicity was the most instrument heavy of all the acts, with guitars, bass, drums and electric harp.  Her performance closed the night dramatically with her brand of Melancholic, ambient acoustic music, her performance of “Oh Jesus” a piece from a soundtrack she’d written for a local play, was dark, emotional and spellbinding, anyone entering the room at that time would think they’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and stepped into a David Lynch film.  She finished her set with us chanting alongside her through the choruses creating an otherworldly vibe which left most stunned by what can only be the most intimate of performances.

The performances were all recorded by John Aliaga from Impartial Cameraman; one song from each of the acts will be edited and uploaded to the SoFar Sounds Website, and the artist’s respective webpages.

More details of this global community can be found at www.sofarsounds.com alternatively to be involved locally you can contact perthsofar@gmail.com if you would like to host an event, volunteer a space, or participate in performing.

Reviewed by Rhys Willoughby

Live Review - Winter Warmer @ The Beat Nightclub

WINTER WARMER: HOSTILE LITTLE FACE, THE MDC, ONE ARMED SCISSOR, DEAD SET RADIO & SILVER GRENADE. - FRIDAY 24/08/12 @ THE BEAT NIGHTCLUB

  • By Ellie Hutchinson

Last Friday night I found myself at the Beat nightclub once more, jostling among an eager throng of listeners to catch Hostile Little Face kick off their debut album, ‘The Architect’- with a little help from some stellar supports. 

Relative newcomers Silver Grenade took to the stage first with their unique, arresting brand of metal. Undeniably heavy but with a pop sensibility that makes you want to sing along, they have a distinctly Karnivool-esque sound. Frontman Scotty Doo was obviously born to perform, although I could have done without the aviators he hid his face behind. He maintained an easy banter with the punters (‘this song is called Cold and Frozen and it’s about some bitch’ was quite the crowd-pleaser) and luckily enough had talent to spare, with an amazingly versatile set of pipes. Catchy tunes like Walk Away and Growing Up proved this foursome are a force to be reckoned with, and I’m placing my bets that we’ll be hearing a lot more of them in the future. 

Dead Set Radio possessed the stage next, slamming straight into their first track with no need for introduction. Front chickie Zemyna Kuliukas proved her rock’n’roll soul by sculling honey straight from the bottle- but if she had a case of the sniffles you couldn’t tell. Her voice soared and wailed with abandon as they tore through songs like Lost (which is apparently about ‘going douth and getting lost’) and a truly badass cover of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi. Having platinum-haired Zemyna at the helm, I’d imagine these guys get a lot of Paramore comparisons- but with their heavy-yet-danceable sound, sublime harmonies and Jake and Bheck’s masterful guitar work, I was reminded more of early No Doubt. Pair this with the fact that they’ve played with everyone from indie-kings Set Sail to metal heavyweights Voyager, it’s clearly only up from here for this super-talented five piece.

One Armed Scissor were next, bringing a mutinous energy to proceedings. They’re so high energy that they’re almost exhausting to watch- frontman Matt Wells screams like some kind of Motley Crue banshee, roams around like a snarling Sid Vicious and sits atop various parts of the stage like he owns it. They’re grungy and groovy, and I couldn’t help but move to songs like Mister Cigarette and Windmill. Tongue-in-cheek interplay between Matt and bassist Ava Grandison was a constant, and with Matt’s admission that ‘I knocked out my lip ring at the last gig so, so far, so good!’ it was time to bow out- with the aid of an insane cover of Song 2 by Blur. For what it’s worth, I think the Brits would have approved.

The MDC defiantly informed the now-packed band room ‘we’re a rock and roll band’, and there’s no argument there. They’re all about old-school sing-alongs, balls-on-the-floor retro rock and chaos, chaos, chaos. They’re not just some 70s throwback, however- they really seem to encapsulate that raw essence so sadly missing from other bands of this genre. Their tracks are as varied as they are loud- One Night Stand Off is fast and rollicking, Dangerous is what you’d get if Neil Young had a pint with Nirvana and Heartbreaker (off their EP of the same name- a Led Zeppelin reference if ever I saw one) is so catchy I was singing along by the end. They rioted around the stage like a big dysfunctional family, entreating the crowd to repeat after them and say ‘shit shit fuck shit’ as they launched into a cover of Grinspoon’s More Than You Are. With some instrumental issues (‘the stage is broken!) and frontman Stag’s voice showing the wear and tear of a gig well-played, they unplugged too soon for their panting audience.

And so with everyone present considerably more rowdy and beer soaked than at the night’s beginning, it was finally time for Hostile Little Face to unleash their debut album. Despite frontman Mitch Freind telling us ‘my voice is so croaky I feel like a pig!’ I couldn’t hear it- strong vocals had been a constant throughout the night and his were no exception. This four piece plays softly and sweetly, lulling you into a false sense of security until they suddenly and forcefully crescendo with a clashing medley of sounds. In this way, despite regularly drawing comparison to the likes of Incubus and Jimmy Eat World, they’re reminiscent of Mogwai- they certainly share the same ethereal soundscape and slow-burn sensibility. Mikey Kirou’s stop-start drumming perfectly fits their ‘melodically thrashy’ sound, and the electric on-stage chemistry between guitarist Chris Marchegiani and bassist Stephen Marchegiani makes it easy to see why HLF have been handpicked to support British India and Birds of Tokyo on their upcoming tour. With sing-along tracks like 27 Verses and Return to Sender, I can safely say these lads walked away with more than a few new fans- and a few more album sales as well.

Live Review - Dam Few “Scarlett Amnosity” EP Launch @ The Rosemount




Saturday night. What to do; stay in and watch Liverpool get thrashed by West Brom, or go to the Rosemount to watch Dam Few put out their debut double A-side, Scarlett/Animosity. Glad I chose the Rosemount.

First on stage was Jacob Diamond. The young singer-songwriter has been playing around town for some time now and has an EP out. It was just Diamond and his guitar on stage, and the songs had a very laidback sound, especially I Can’t Be Sure and The Natural Gardener. I’m All Alone sounded sombre, but was probably the best song in the set. It’ll be interesting to hear what these songs sound like with a full band. Keep your eye on this guy.

The next act was Patient Little Sister. This folk-pop brother and sister duo had songs you could dance to, such as Madison Blue and Hard To Say Goodbye. Eliza Rogers is probably the band’s secret weapon, with her distinctive violin sounds and her dulcet voice acting as a good counter for the more Bob Dylan-esque vocals of older brother James. Eliza also sang lead on two songs, Heart Of Stone and the more alt-country sounding Bit By Bit, a song which is screaming ‘SINGLE!’ It’s a pity the crowd hadn’t picked up, these siblings have a good thing going on.

Next up was Dead Owls. At last, some performers who weren’t afraid to crank up their amplifiers! Originally from Melbourne, this two-piece band (guitar/drums) is quite similar to Dinosaur Jnr and Bright Eyes, with psychedelic guitar moments interspersed with hard hitting riffs. A little tip though fellas, it might help if you tell prospective fans what song you’re playing – the band just seemed to zip through their setlist. Their best song was Inside My Head, a marked improvement on the other songs in the setlist.

The final support act was Harlequin League, James Rogers’ other, more well-known band. They kicked off with one of their best known songs, Again And Again. Rogers is undoubtedly the focal point of the band, but the contributions of guitarist and keyboard player Ben Pooley cannot be overlooked. Whether it’s pulling crazy noises out of his guitar on All Your Wars Are Won, or playing guitar and synth on Wait Don’t Strain and Bones, Pooley manages to add distinctive parts to every song. The band left the stage in a wash of feedback, as if they’d created a giant energy field.

Dam Few finally hit the stage at 11:30pm. At last a sizeable number of fans had shown up. The hard hitting Animosity was an early taste of what the fans wanted. Dam Few had come to play, why else would they be wearing white shirts with bow ties? On several songs the band had guest saxophonist Stef Bennett contributing. Dam Few’s sound is quite wide ranging, whether its fast-paced rockers like Americide or the slow ballad Seesaw. Judging by the looks of the audience most of the fans were Nineties kids, which meant the cover of the Pokemon Theme went down like a treat. After an instrumental which saw all three band members hitting drums they brought out the grand finale, their debut single, Scarlett. Here’s a young band that rocks and has songs a lot of people can enjoy.

Reviewed by Chris Martin 

FOAM EP Launch Live Review



FOAM EP LAUNCH: FRIDAY 27/07/12 @ THE BEAT NIGHTCLUB

  • By Ellie Hutchinson

As I entered the dark, cocoon-like band room of the Beat nightclub, I couldn’t help but notice how fitting a place it was for grungy stalwarts FOAM to launch their EP, Sarpa Salpa. The club has a distinctively makeshift, DIY vibe that perfectly suits its punters- The Cure provided the soundtrack in between sets and cheap beer in red plastic cups flowed freely. 

The suitably dressed Energy Commission kicked off proceedings, commanding attention in their orange bin bag suits and safety goggles. Rather than play originals, they bravely chose to tackle Devo’s first album- and, thankfully, pulled it off with aplomb. These guys count Lou Reed, Black Flag and The Hives among their influences; but with their unique post-punk sound and playful, tongue-in-cheek stage show, they also bring to mind the B52s (albeit a wilder, woollier version). Front man Forman doesn’t so much sing as chant, and their ‘stand-in’ on keyboards, Will, was doing a stellar job of adding to the eccentricity. By the time they bowed out, I felt like I’d just stumbled off the set of 80s cult classic ‘Weird Science’- which in my books is high praise indeed.

Immediately following Energy Commission was two-man band Puck, who were considerably more stripped down in their performance style but just as high energy. Comprised of Steve on guitar and Liam on drums, these two equally share the microphone- but singing drummer aside, they’re about as far removed from the Eagles as you could get. Reminiscent of an early 90s fuzz band with their raw and sludgy sound, they were heavy- but in a foot-tappin’, head-noddin’ kind of way. I was mesmerised by Liam’s dreamy, distorted vocals and the super BIG sound they produced. As enigmatic off-stage as they are on, Puck may have only been on the local music scene for a short while- but they are the living, howling proof that less is more.

Amid a buzz of anticipation, underground favourites Hunting Huxley took to the stage next.  My first experience seeing these psychedelic cats was when they unleased their “rock n roll cheesecake” at Mojos’ Led Zeppelin Tribute Night, circa 2010- and if you were lucky enough to be there, you would damn well remember them.  These guys wail, in every sense of the word- their set at the Beat was, to quote my own notes, like ‘a perfectly executed jam’. Spontaneous, flowing and yet devastatingly precise, they exude such raw passion it felt almost voyeuristic to watch them. They were considerably more prog-y than the last time I saw them- which can be a dangerous thing in this modern age of ‘quick fix tunes’- but their intuitive connection with the audience ensured we were left hoarse and panting for more.

A hard act to follow, but they followed them nonetheless- the gentlemen of the hour, FOAM. I actually stumbled across this three-piece recently at Ya-Yas and it was love at first sight. They were playing to a somewhat contemptuous crowd that night and I wanted to go and shake them all for not appreciating the musical miracle that was unfurling before them. FOAM regularly draw comparison to 90s heavyweights Nirvana and Soundgarden, and while it’s easy to see why, it would be a great injustice to simply write them off as ‘another grunge throwback band’. Joel (guitar& vocals), Harley (bass) and Jackson (drums) aren’t kidding around- they channel a gloriously savage rage, which is at once ear-splitting and enthralling. In between tearing the stage to shreds, they also possess a sort of shuffling humility- with Joel reassuring the audience at Ya-Yas that they didn’t have to applaud if they didn’t want to, because ’we don’t judge’. However, the applause was so rapturous at the launch that there was no need for modesty. With tracks like Banf Gablei, Super Neutral and Total Body Disruption, they’re the kings of angsty anthems- but they also have some lovely little introspective songs to break up the ire. They were a snarling force to be reckoned with who tore through their set all too quickly, and I can’t wait for their next killer show.