Wednesday night we caught two super exciting emerging bands at the iconic Oxford Art Factory.
Kicking us off was the low-fi pop rock musings of Little May. Having released two of my favourite tracks last year in ‘Hide’ and ‘Boardwalks’, and been suitably been rewarded with a spot on the Laneway Festival line-up, it was great to see these girls (and guy) continuing on to better things. Word has clearly got around because these guys had packed house from the outset.They played a tight set, showing off their brooding indie pop, and dropping their impending next single ‘Mexico’ towards the end of the set to great reception.
Mikhail Paskalev hit the stage opening with a nice solo folk infused number called ‘Susie’, before inviting the rest of his band out to get stuff going. ‘I Spy’ was the crowd favourite and had rightly drawn the numbers to the gig, but boy does Mikhail and his band have talent. From slide guitars, to horns and some super tight drumming these guys put on a show with a range of upbeat pop tracks to slow rock ballad numbers. Not even some slight technical mishaps with the acoustic guitar could stop the guys. With his album just being released in Australia, Mikhail Paskalev showed he was no one trick pony, and the album would definitely be worth the investment.
On Friday Night I was lucky enough to catch Holy Holy and their supports in what was easily in the top three gigs I have been to this year – and we go to a fair few.
Opening the night was the initially quiet duo ‘Winterbourne’ who then exploded in what was hands down the best opening act of 2013. Featuring a host of their own tunes ranging from super catchy folk to more sombre ballads, the twosome just left the room in amazement. If there was any doubt that these two were not going to be one of the acts to watch in 2014, a splendid rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s, ‘Mrs Robinson’ put that to rest. Great muscianship, phenomenal vocals, and can write songs. Watch out for these guys next year!
Eleanor Dunlop was the next act up, and wowed the crowd with her take on moody haunting piano pop. Having not heard much of her before, it was good to finally catch her live and see what the hype was about. She played a solid set, incorporating a pretty cool Queens of The Stone Age cover to keep the night rolling on in the right direction.
Holy Holy took the stage with and really got the bar buzzing from the outset, delivering a momentous tight and truly complete sound. If you loved ‘Impossible Like You’ then you will be happy to know that these guys have the goods, playing a set that was hard to pick a weak point in. With an album due out early next year, this sneak preview of their new tracks left me very eager for new songs to drop already. They just delivered one of those sounds that was textured, heavy and backed by vocals that just melted your ears in all the right way. When they finally closed their set, I was definitely left wanting more!
As the crowd stumbled into the Unibar, Lyall Moloney mixed elements of folk, hip hop, reggae and blues rock, and came up with a unique sound and a solid set. Bootleg Rascal must have liked Moloney’s set because they asked him for a little help on a few tracks. The track Sharks was a boppy beachy bundle of fun and Psychotica got a great crowd reaction. Bootleg Rascals laid back guitars and seamless dub influence ensured crowd energy stayed on the way up.
It was good to see local boys The Vanns getting to play to such an excited and sizeable crowd, and even nicer to see them absolutely kill it. James Vann’s husky vocals on Don’t hold me back combine nicely with tight basslines, bouncy guitars and tropical beats. Blender was the song of the set.
Sticky Fingers took the stage at around 10.30, dressed as sharply as you would expect five boys from Newtown to be. Their punk rock spirit and cock rock attitude is ever present, though the boys add a sense of maturity through Dylan Frost’s husky vocals and clever lyrics. The dub beats and semi psychedelic guitars coincide with the bands overall energy. These Days provided a nice softer moment, Australia Street was a nostalgic dance along track and closer Caress Your Soul was huge. Overall it was a great bill of acts whose sounds complimented each other nicely, great times.
It was a fantastic night of live music at one of Sydneys best venues, oxford art factory on Thursday night. Evan and the Brave got the night kick started with their bouncy, uplifting, ridiculously melodic pop sounds. The melodies from these guys are brimming with good time vibes that cant help but make you smile and sway. Those smart enough to get there early and catch their set were well rewarded.
Next up were 3 peice MTNS, pronounced Mountains, who treated a quickly swelling crowd some surprisingly textured (considering there are just three of them!) electronic indie tunes. The vocals of lead singer Tom Eggert are stunningly unique and captivating. They float beautifully across haunting and swelling synths and electronic drum sounds. A solid set of original dark, atmospheric tunes with a great cover of arcade fires “the suburbs” thrown in the middle. What more could you want?
How about one of Sydney’s finest bands, Tigertown. Tigertown have been amassing a devoted fanbase in recent times and this was in evidence with oxford art quickly selling out. The bands mix of folksy melodies, driving drums and intricate guitars/keys provide the perfect backdrop for their perfect vocal harmonies. The intricate harmonies between Chris and Charlie have a real intimacy (probably helped by the fact that they are married). Highlights of a great show were the well placed and well played drum in the middle of the crowd and a stunning acoustic encore that brought all members to the front of the stage/ sharing mics and silencing a captivated sell out audience.
Last Saturday we were lucky enough to experience another live show by The Paper Kites at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. I was pretty excited to catch the band and hear them play through their new album ‘States’ which was released this week, for the first time live. Having heard a couple of new tracks such as lead single ‘St Clarity’ and next single ‘Young’ I thought I had an idea of what to expect. Turns out I didn’t.
We came in just to see Robbie Miller close out his show. It was a shame we only caught the last two songs, as by all accounts he put on a great show, and on since following up seems to be a pretty talented song writer, having won the Triple J Unearthed National Indigenous Music Award. So be sure to get there early if you are attending any future shows, as I can assure you there is nothing worse that catching only a glimpse of talent before they rise to fame.
Georgia Fair then came onto the stage. I hadn’t seen these guys in ages and it was great to hear the classic workings of Georgia Fair hit my ears again. Although it was strange seeing the guys as a two piece and drummerless, they put on a great indie folk show and their tunes are sensational. I hope these guys have some new material coming out shortly, but in the meantime ‘Gloria’, ‘Picture Frames’, and ‘Blind’ all sounded just as good as I remembered them, and really set the tone for a good night.
The Paper Kites took to the stage to the biggest cheers I think they have ever received. The all ages gig meant that excitement in the crowd was electrifying and nearly bought the house down when the guys dropped ‘Featherstone’, ‘Young’ and ‘A Maker of My Time’ reasonably early in the set. The new tunes pioneered by the guys saw a pretty different change in their sound compared to their two EPs. For starters Christina Lacy took over the vocals from Sam for several of the new songs, which provided a completely different sound and feel to the tracks. There was also an almost psychedelic influence and vibe to some of the new songs too, which was unexpected and kind of cool. I liked most of the new songs, and feel that once I give the new album ‘States’ a good flogging on the CD player I would really come around to love the album, as the iTunes reviews are already suggesting. Although a bit of a shock on the night, the slightly varied sound still melted the ear drums, and the plucky banjo loop of ‘St Clarity’ was even more incredible live. A great show, with plenty of surprises.
Kicking off the night was The Griswolds who’s energetic live show never fails to disappoint. Loud, upbeat and showing off the kind of stage presence that leaves you wondering why they are still opening shows for other people, they delivered a pretty awesome set. ‘Heart of a Lion’ went off, the freshers loved it, and were pretty keen for the night to kick on.
Drapht came out and did his thing. Not a huge hip-hop fan, but credit where credit is due, the man did his thing well. I was pretty surprised by how many of his songs I knew, and may have even had a bit of a head bop going at one point.
The next act where Strangetalk who blew me away with their set. Having listened to Strangetalk a bit and knowing the classic crowd favourites ‘Climbing Walls’ and ‘Eskimo Boy’ I was amazed at how well the guys made their sound come through live, it was so much rockier than the albums. They danced, they sang and had the girls swooning of every word. The guys were really energetic and really fun, and had everyone well and truly pumped for The Last Dinosaurs.
With supports like the above, it was going to be a hell of a show for the Last Dinosaurs to outdo them. But rising to the occasion, they rocked it. ‘Andy’ made a pretty early appearance and the crowd formed what could only be described as a washing machine of death when the slightly heavier ‘Zoom’ came on. Add some crowd surfing and another stellar rip through their debut album playing the favourites ‘Weekend’, ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Time and Place’ and the boys genuinely earned the encore they got. Treating us to a song that I have not heard before – nonetheless it was a pretty rad night that left all in the mood to kick on (which we did)…