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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.
I really had a great night. The show just connected on so many levels, and I’m in awe of this review. If you get a chance, come and see me play at the same venue this Friday night. Thank you.
The Troubadour – 24 Jan
The Australia Day long weekend has well and truly arrived and after wading through hordes of inebriated Valley revellers, The Troubadour’s cosy, red velvet-adorned stage is a welcome sight. With firm knowledge that fantastic support acts are a Troub tradition, tonight’s independent music extravaganza kicks off in fine style as local laptop guru-cum-Thom Yorke’s spiritual compadre Hunz assumes control. Augmented by spiralling 5-string bass runs and tasty, trigger-assisted drums, the facial hair-sporting, keyboard-ambushing artist unleashes a number of thoroughly convincing, melodically complex numbers with twice the fire that Pivot usually allow for, gaining a number of new disciples (including this writer) in the process.
Next on, fellow Brisbanites Gladstone & Lochaber should have probably learned that sheer earnestness does not compensate for near-total absence of crowd interaction, no matter how heroic their stage antics or guitar workouts are. Despite drawing a considerable number of people to the stage, the majority of G&L’s reverb/echo-heavy set collapses into a sludgy, predictable indie-rock stew which is only somewhat spiced up by a pulsing, airy U2 detour (which is still hardly The Temper Trap’s Sweet Disposition) and a French song in open E that manages to successfully marry The Stranglers’ La Folie to Logic Will Break Your Heart-era Stills.
Freddy Mercury circa Bohemian Rhapsody? For real? Sure, why not – stuff The Darkness! The mighty Queen could not perhaps ever thought of better heirs than Melbourne’s [ME], and the immediate general consensus among the packed venue is that the fresh-faced quarted are !@%$ excellent musicians who could give The Fleet Foxes a run for their money with their harmonic vocal interplay (no joke). Whether it’s the histrionic soaring crescendos, juicy Brian May-style hammer-ons and fretboard fireworks or the grandiose, Muse-reminiscent piano breaks, the kids are simply more than alright – they are on fire. Working the heavily perspiring crowd into fervour with their own, exquisite brand of theatrical rock, [ME] apply a killer final touch by executing a tribal triple drum assault. Get back to Brissy soon boys – you !%$# rock!