The Troubadour – Sat Jan 24
Disclaimer: this writer is proud to attest he hasn’t seen one crap show at The Troub. That said, the Australia Day weekend is reassuringly full of live music and bringing his art to the tassle-decorated stage is Brisbane’s own math-rock extraordinaire Hunz. Backed by a powerhouse rhythm section, the bearded soul man/laptop wizard gives a glimpse of what Pivot could have sounded like if Richard Pike sang conventional lyrics; his expansive range, in-song vocal loops and sheer passion make for one memorable opening slot.
No matter how tight they are, hometown boys Gladstone & Lochaber are unable to match Hunz’s impressive performance. Their reverb-drenched palette coming across as by-numbers Aussie rock with Perth slant (Gyroscope, Eskimo Joe etc), the quartet only really get flying on one Francophone number, albeit due to that song’s nod to The Stills’ glorious Retour A Vega.
Muse jamming with Sparks anyone? In lieu of pre-gig research, [ME] turn out to be my unexpected discovery of 2009. Ridiculously talented, the precocious Melbourne fourpiece do a much better job at pulling off the Queen sound than The Darkness ever did and generally make the latter collective sound like a bunch of amateurs; Freddy Mercury’s spirit would undoubtedly be smiling at the band’s vocal acrobatics while Brian May would approve of the guitarist’s supersonic tapping and sustain-laden riffs. Two words: epic win.