Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(This is where Humans lyrics should be but I don't really know enough) - Humans/Sheriff/The Sinking Teeth/Lubbock Lights, Gasometer Hotel, 19/04/2012

It's a pretty well-known fact that Melbourne, Australia has one of, if not THE, world's greatest live music scenes. If you love music, there's ALWAYS a gig on - be it a full day/night festival with international headliners, a night at a larger venue such as the Forum or Palace to see a big international or local, or a simple cheap night at your local with some solid "next big things", the options are endless. How else could you explain a gig like this one happening on a THURSDAY? Though it's not usually an ideal night to get loose and rock out, plenty of friends and fans turned up to Fitzroy's Gasometer Hotel to see these four quality young acts doing their thing, and with a lineup like this, it's easy to see why.

Getting the night off to a considerably relaxed start, taking into account the rest of the lineup, were the sublime post-rocking trio Lubbock Lights. Up until now, this project has been a duo by the name of Dan & Dan (funnily enough, the members being Dan Smith and Dan Savage), but they've recently decided to expand the lineup a bit (thus necessitating a name change), and tonight they were joined onstage by Nik Militiadou on drums (and in future plan to include a certain keys/synth player who would later appear on tonight's lineup). It's arguable that this whole post-rock thing is becoming a little bit overdone at the moment, but if a band can do it well, as Lubbock Lights certainly did, then why not give it a go? On display was the usual extreme variation of dynamics typical of post-rock bands, as the evening kicked off with something a little more refined and experimental than the later acts to follow - the calm before the storm, if you will. As the bandroom filled up steadily, the chilled-out crescendoing guitars lulled the audience into a nice relaxed state.

Everyone loves a supergroup, and up next was a three-piece featuring members of The Analyte, Left Feels Right and the Hawaiian Islands, The Sinking Teeth. Led by former Analyte vocalist-guitarist Nick Manuell, the trio's noodly post-hardcore seemed to be a logical extension of the group's past ventures, and the sudden increase in pace from the previous band warmed the room up considerably! The songs were short and punchy, filled with plenty of catchy riffs and Manuell's sharp vocal attack. His skills with a microphone have improved significantly over the years, and not just on the vocal side of things either - as usual, he delivered some quite abstract but amusing banter, and seems to be writing some songs about some interesting topics. Another great asset in this band is the rhythm section - Left Feels Right's Jules Doan is quite handy on the bass, with the likes of Bloc Party and Foals seeming to be a major influence his dance-punk playing style. Behind the kit tonight was Ben Stewart, another talented member of this up-and-coming trio. As The Sinking Teeth, these three gentlemen haven't been playing together for all that long, but individually there's plenty of gig experience between them, and it certainly shows onstage. These guys will definitely be one to keep an eye on in the near future.

For many in the room, the memory of a certain evening at Cherry Bar was still very fresh in their minds, and as the Sheriff boys began setting up their gear for their first gig off the back of their EP launch a few weeks ago, the anticipation rose noticeably. "Good evening sports fans!" greeted the band's bassist/vocalist Jimi Coelli, sounding fired up and ready to rock as usual, as the band kicked into the dirgey but incredibly groovy Pick Yourself Up, a newer song that's found its way into the set this year to the delight of the Sheriff regulars. Though Sheriff's music is mostly no-nonsense and doesn't feature too much musical wanking about, this one does feature a surprisingly appropriate jam on, of all things, the fucking theremin, courtesy of guitarist Tom Watson. Speaking of Watson, he certainly drew the crowd's attention on many occasions during this evening - initially it was for the wrong reasons, as his seemingly irrepressible urge to run through the crowd and go nuts (which is a GOOD thing of course) resulted in his axe being disconnected from his pedals several times. "TOM'S GUITAR, DOESN'T WOOOOOOORK!" sang Coelli, in tune to the "I'll be there for yooooou!" refrain from Creep and the Sicko. But with the help of a few friends in the building, the issues were soon resolved and the performance went ahead - in true Sheriff style, with great gusto. Individual crowd members were singled out by the band to come up the front and have a boogie to the rockabilly-flavoured You're Not Too Cool (So Baby Dance With Me), with a competition for the best dancer resulting in one lucky girl walking away with a free copy of Sheriff's killer new EP. The band certainly have a great ability to get their fans to come back to see them play time and time again, and the familiar faces were certainly enjoying the songs that they have grown to know and love over the years. Unsurprisingly, it was the super-popular What You Want that finished the evening off, which saw Watson run up to the venue's balcony/mezzanine level. An audience member threw him his guitar lead, and he played the song's final moments from his position high above his bandmates - before throwing the guitar down into the waiting crowd, where an audience member luckily caught it!

Pick Yourself Up
Gig From Hell
Gunshot Rodeo
Your Mothers Daughter, Your Fathers Son
Creep and the Sicko
You're Not Too Cool (So Baby Dance With Me)
On the Floor
Simon Young  (was on setlist but they ran out of time, not before teasing the crowd with the intro)
What You Want

It's always a bit tough when you have multiple bands on a bill delivering extremely high-energy sets, but tonight's closing act ensured that everyone was able to bring out one final burst of adrenaline - it was of course the relentless dance-punk trio Humans, and with their appearance on the stage, the Gasometer crowd was set to do one thing, and that was PARTY. The trio brought along a laser and smoke machine to set the tone even further, but unfortunately the smoke machine didn't quite work which minimised the impact of the laser; nevertheless the party went ahead and the trio thrashed their way through a short but blisteringly intense set. Notably featuring just a vocalist/keyboardist, bassist and drummer, the obvious lack of guitar isn't something that hinders their sound at all; the overdriven bass becomes the focal point of some very danceable songs. However, it was very hard to draw any attention away from frontman Ram, as he threw himself around (and occasionally off) the stage in the most hyperactive fashion possible, and when he was required to play some keys, he didn't just play - he positively punched them with great abandon, as if they'd somehow done something to really offend him. Crowd participation was warmly encouraged by the band, and not just in the form of singalongs - midway through the set, the boys began passing out grotesque animal masks for the crowd to wear, which they did! In just short of thirty minutes, the young but talented trio worked the room into an absolute frenzy. Concluding with the raucous FUCKTV, from their free three-song demo, was a sure-fire way to keep the crowd moving til the very end.