The most remarkable thing about The Church, and there are many remarkable things about this enduring Australia band, is how better they get with age. Memories seep past of watching them just down the road, in what seemed for all intent and purpose their final show. How different the mood tonight from the fractured awkwardness of 20 years past. When success and its pursuit of becomes secondary to making and performing music, the true nature of a band shines through.
Archives for the ‘Live Reviews’ Category
On a night when everyone is locked in an US election day trance, American synth-noir act Chromatics were the alternative for those choosing pop over politics. As a band who’ve existed in various forms since 2001, their recent mainstream crossover was aided by the success of the film “Drive” and its accompanying synth-wave soundtrack where their instrumental track “Tick Of The Clock” prominently featured.
With just the one single to their name (“Flying To Berlin”/”Husbands”), London-based quartet Savages already have the potential to be post-punk’s next generational shining light. Such accolades are easy to bestow when your band reads like a university post-punk dissertation made flesh. You could transport Savages back to 1981 and sandwich them onstage between Pigbag and Bauhaus and none would be the wiser.
To say that 2012 hasn’t been the easiest of years for Echo Lake would be a sad understatement. The tragic loss of their drummer Pete Hayes coinciding with the release of their debut album was a crushing setback for this wonderful London band-in-ascendant. To make a difficult time that much harder, vocalist Linda Jarvis was walking around prior to the show with her arm in a sling. For a band on the first date of their postponed album tour you have to admire the way Echo Lake have handled the cards dealt them.
A little face paint and a rummage through the fancy dress chest has the potential to turn even the dreariest of live performances into something oddly comical and surreal, yet this is something Beth Jeans Houghton and her Hooves of Destiny have nothing to worry about. The masquerade, the costumes (the “camp samurai” drummer in his kimono), only seem to elevate the mood to unnatural levels, whereupon the uninhibited audience will indulge in a little primal screaming and launch themselves onstage to bellow “fuck off” in the punkish frenzy of “Prick aka Sean”.
HTRK have always been a difficult band to love. Once you got used to their decaying minimalism and the anonymity that pervaded their artwork, you realised they weren’t a band seeking attention, merely like-minded souls to tumble down their rabbit hole. They weren’t looking for you, you were looking for them. They ply romance as being one of their tenets, but their music is neither romantic nor seductive. More confessions of bitterness and jealousy from a self-loathing voyeur unable to look away from what attracts them, or the last words of a dying emotion.
A couple of songs into Lydia Loveless’s evening set, and it’s difficult to tell where Lydia the singer ends and Lydia the person begins. It’s simply hard to imagine a woman like this, barely in her twenties, and standing a little over five foot tall in her boots, could be so worldly and explosive. And yet, there she is, muttering a string of f-bombs during a song break because she can’t get her guitar tuned quite right. The attitude, the weathered, sarcastic smile. The edge. That’s pretty damn tough to fake.
On the surface, it’s a normal, sold-out show on a Friday night just north of downtown Cleveland. The fans stretch around the corner from the front door; ticket holders excited for the They Might Be Giants concert they’re about to see, and those without tickets hoping to catch a break when they get to the box office. But this is not a normal show, and this is not a normal audience. These are the geeks. The nerds. Die hard rock fans of a different shade of crazy, waiting for their musical heroes to serenade them with catchy pop songs tinged with dark humor and insightful counter-culture references.
Having changed careers mid-stream from a piano-based singer-songwriter with a touch of the Regina Spectors to a Nico-esque bleach-blonde gothic siren, in Austra Katie Stelmanis has found the form to match the function. With a handful of impressive singles released either side of their Kate Bush meets Nine Inch Nails debut album Feel It Break, Stelmanis may have found her creative niche but she still has much to prove. On record, Austra cloak themselves in a throbbing monochrome blanket, but on stage their live show is more telling, more vibrant and commanding, as Stelmanis, flanked by a pair of interpretive dancers/backing vocalists, add any absent colour.
Quietly, unassumingly, Truck Festival has become an annual celebration of all that is so very right about music. When the Bennett brothers witnessed the exploitative attitude of industrial sized events they didn’t just get mad they got even. Truck Festival was their baby and now in its fourteenth year it has blossomed into a rather lovely adolescent. Webcuts birthday boy Don Blandford was at Truck all weekend to report on the action, featuring appearances by: Graham Coxon, Lanterns On The Lake, Cashier No.9, Sarah Cracknell, Johnny Flynn, Edwyn Collins, Caitlin Rose, Mechanical Bride and Sea Of Bees.