Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Monday, May 28, 2007 
The Hi-Fi Bar

To a rapidly filling and largely disinterested Hi-Fi Bar, New Estate play a typically blazing and impassioned set. One of the few bands who can make mistakes sound spot on, it's a minor act of justice that sees them garner a surely highly contested support slot for CYHSY's east coast tour dates. Playing half of their new album Is It Real? New Estate have technical problems that briefly hold things up, and - despite a static performance - the momentum of the songs more than made up for it. Eschewing future classics like Out Of Control for currently overlooked gems like the glorious Herge and throbbing menace of Last Train To Belgrave, there is more than an off-kilter falsetto linking this band and the headliners and hopefully the overexcited CYHSY fans noticed these jagged guitar-set heartfelt paenes to suburban living and sharehouse etiquette.

The large red LED clock sitting stage right ticks over to 10PM, at precisely this moment is the arrival of our favourite American nerds and a squealing sea of smiling, clear-skinned bookish youth greet them and carries over the opening bars of Some Loud Thunder a perfect you-know-what-you're-getting-and-here-it-is opening track.
Looking as if five undergraduate chemisty students fell over in an op shop bargain bin, CYHSY seem for the most part as if they actually are conducting a chemistry experiment. So precisely are the songs played out, and to the second is their set timed, that we could be excused for thinking we were lab mice. It falls to the hyperactive keyboard/guitar/percussion-ist Robbie Guertin (wearing an Architecture in Helsinki t-shirt) to inject some "yeah!" into the clapping hands with his ecstatic face and frequent buoyancy. Singer Alec Ounsworth, quite clearly the ringleader here, and more talkative than reputation would suggest (frequently telling us this is the first time they've made it to Australia as if reminding himself) resembles a punked-up Rodriguez with his frantically strummed steel-string guitar, lack of eye contact with the audience, blues riffing between each song and wary pacing of the stage. Despite a surprisingly poor sound mix the crowd love every second, Over And Over Again, Satan Said Dance and Gimme Some Salt fill out the first part of the set and indicate a reliance on their first album over their more complex and harder-to-replicate-live second album. This is great news for the hyped-up crowd and every song is greeted with gales of cheers. Though In This Home On Ice is excitingly rousing, the highlight is, predictably enough, The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth, eliciting possibly the gentlest moshing the Hi-Fi has ever seen, a piercing garble of a chorus singalong and even a wry smile from the frantically pacing Ounsworth as he peels off the killer two-note guitar hook.

Even a three minute technical hitch doesn't stop the gig from being one hour to the minute, preceding a five minute break and a 25 minute encore - oh those geeks. Coming back with the the sea shanty megaphone-aided Clap Your Hands people can't keep from smiling and joyous cheer fills the room, though not the stage it seems. Heavy Metal is the closing frantic burst of indie-rock that is bestowed upon us, and despite calls for more, the lads clearly have some sort of meta-analysis to formulate and further refining to do.

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