Monday, November 16, 2009


Monday, October 01, 2007 
Hi-Fi Bar

Short, sweet, to the point and maximum satisfaction guaranteed. Could be a chocolate bar, a Joe Pesci performance or a well-worn proverb, but tonight, it's a 1990s gig. And with a buck- tooth, wild haired grin from singer and guitarist Jackie McKeown, during another energetic Jonathan Richman-esque guitar solo, it's a hard deal to resist, even given the number of people here on a free or 2-for-1 ticket who were happy to stand back and have a soundtrack to their beer.
The night begins with a gig from Melbourne's (superior) version of Operator Please, Young Lovers. With some gorgeous guitars, an average age of about 18 and a nice line in high energy dance rock you could be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into Rod Laver Arena if you keep your eyes on the stage. Bursting with positivity, stage rhetoric more befitting a mid-90s Depeche Mode and clearly with their sights set high, this band are on the up in a big way. Closing track Standing In The Rain off their forthcoming EP sends people to the dancefloor in unprecendented numbers for an opening band.

All of which make The Dardanelles seem even less exciting than they are. Though their sped-up-Death-In-Vegas sleazy electro rock should really be addictive and debasing like their obvious influences, for some reason it seems incredibly contrived, half-hearted and unimaginatively lazy. Their new single Footsteps does bring things up a notch, as does the hand-clapping closer Of Course You Said but really these guys are sloppy players relying on unimaginative pedal and keyboard settings, garbled vocals and predictable song structures. You would hope it was a bad night, because on record they are a different beast, but the songs drag and waving arms and guitars around between swigs of beer does not a stage presence make.

With the drum kit brought front and centre, an inadvertant Glaswegian supergroup (one ex-Yummy Fur, one ex-V-Twin and a Fannie) then take to the stage and set about their signature goofy pop wonderment with opening track You Made Me Like It. "So football hey? That a game you play with your hands?" says Jackie with a cheeky grin. Seeing a band that don't take themselves seriously at Hi Fi Bar is a  welcome change, and the simple and engaging tunes come as fast as the comedic asides. Arcade Precinct is a glorious burst of laddish sunshine sung by drummer Michael McGaughrin - "AC/DC, they're actually from Glasgow you know!" kicks off  the glam stomp of new song Back in Your Box. You're Supposed To Be My Friend and Meet You At The Lights get huge responses and many pretty people dancing. "Jamie had to go and tend to his kids and garden so, here's Norman," says Jackie, introducing Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake tonight subbing on bass. "This is our last song." Crowd moans. "Don't worry, it's a long one." says Jackie of set closing jam Some Kind Of Situation and even that is short and exciting. Magic!

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