Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Northcote Social Club
Pikelet is without a doubt one of the most interesting and unique performers this city can boast. Quietly building a loyal fanbase through relentless gigging - seemingly opening for around 40% of Melbourne's bands at one time or other, giving interviews redolent of quiet confidence and complete unpretentiousness, and with a CD on the way, this could easily be the year she goes above-ground. Tonight's show is a quiet one to a sparsely populated and predominently prostrate No So, but her plaintive honesty, gorgeous melodies, striking voice and new haircut only convert.
Even with most mishaps imaginable happening during their set tonight, Grand Salvo could still barely hold the attention of those present. Epitomising all that is predictable about folk music; fruity arch lyrics, obvious chord changes, a lack of dynamics, tired chord progressions, overt earnestness and no sense of humour, their gig is nevertheless, entertaining. Firstly, the stereo playing in the No So's kitchen begins drowning out the beginning of a song so the gig stops until that is turned down. Then the introduction of the double-bassist turns into a minor farce and Mr Salvo himself (AKA Paddy Mann) begins forgetting words and rushes song endings. That he didn't raise a smile during any of this only increased hilarity. The entire set was redeemed though by a new song, tentatively-entitled Hunter's Remorse which had really interesting chords, arresting lyrics and was affecting in it's unreleased tension and surprising brevity.
The Crayon Fields play a wonderful set. Every song from last year's excellent Animal Bells LP is played twice as fast as recorded but that's probably for the better. The sound is much stronger and edgier than the CD would suggest and Geoff O'Connor is on fine form, his warm Rickenbacker 12-string offsetting the busy drumming from fantastic new addition Raquel Solier. Choir Of Tiny Boys, Would It Be So Strange? and closer Lovely Time are all heavenly pop highlights.
With fragile guitars held together by gaffa tape, Rand And Holland (with the addition of pals Leah and Emma on bass and drums respectively) build songs of similar acoustic fragility. Moments such was when the drums enter the opening song The Light off their new Caravans CD, you know you're on quality street. She's changed the colour of her hair / I'll be lost for days / Thinking of what to wear / And what not to say. The feeling of sleepiness never really leaves this gig - people are still lying on the floor by the end, but that serves the songs just fine. Occasionally things drag (particularly a long meander entitled The War) but Rand And Holland are a perfect example of dynamite songwriting and performing that will likely - and undeservedly - slip beneath most radars. Gorgeous songs such as Beanstalk and are worthy of a broader audience - at least an appearance on a TV drama. Until then, a gig or CD of theirs is highly recommended.