Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Tuesday, April 03, 2007 
The Spanish Club

The effect a venue's acoustics, and how much respect we should give to venues that take care of this aspect of promoting live music, was brought into sharp focus tonight. Every act suffered immeasurably (as have bands who played here in the past, most notably The Crayon Field's at their CD launch) by the stark sound. Even when three-quarters full, lyrics and melodies are still indiscernible, and this was no fault of the mixer.
Dynamite opening duo Flying Scribble suffer least in this regard as the wonderful dynamic between drummer/vocalist Gray and organ/bass pedal/operatic-vocal-amazement-factor Louise kept things sonically pretty simple, though the multitasking abilities of these girls is far from that. Alternately playful, profound, and a bit krautrock, Flying Scribble seem to be doubling their fanbase with each gig, which you would guess happens tonight. Opener Anyway is a great introduction, Concrete Peak rocks, one introduced as Our Disco Song, and the sprawling Animation Song are both great, though their talent is what really amazes and my guess is that their best is yet to come.

The very handsome Plastic Palace Alice suffer from acoustic problems more than any other act tonight given their mid-heavy sound, leading to alot of people chatting through their set. What is hard to ignore though is the addition of new guitarist Huw Murdoch, who was spot on with his lead breaks and really shone tonight. Also impressing is the worthy single Empire Falls and the only song whose sense of melodrama translates tonight (possibly due to it's emphasis on dynamics), the closing The Girl Who Cried Wolf, an example of how good Plastic Palace Alice can be.

Being a band that thrive on building and releasing tension, Because Of Ghosts are strange to see with house lights blazing and a support-band-appropriate time limit in place. This said, their tightly-reined waves of swelling guitars and mallet-heavy drumming still works, as does their footy-shirt donning Aleks And The Ramps cover which betraying their sense of humour that it must be hard to inject into a standard gig. Again though, the band provide a soundtrack to the chattering masses, a feature that lasts through the headliner's show as well.

You can be sure that an Aleks And The Ramps gig will entertain even if the music doesn't stick in your minds as much as the costumes, as was the case tonight. Beginning with a captivating surreal synchronised dance routine (toga, makeup and over-sized plastic crab claws all present), the moment the music begins so do the technical problems which sadly break the flow. Nothing however, breaks sample-triggerer Joe's will to do an aerobic impersonation of a hundred volcanoes though, and soon, like a bluegrass Pop Group on E the band begin to hit their stride. The title track of tonight's launched CD Pisces Vs Aquarius is frantic, catchy and truly exciting, as is They Recorded Everything We Said. The whole show is like watching 5 overexcited chimps in a cage; each song having so many stops and starts making it more a sequence of riffs and dynamic changes than a gig. At 12:30 the band is asked to finish soon (!) and a string section brought on for the last song are unfortunately rendered totally inaudible. It's not for lack of trying that they fall short of the thrill they're shooting for, but tonight wasn't quite there.

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