Monday, December 7, 2009


Monday, June 30, 2008 

The Evelyn

In a rare show of form The Evelyn tonight plays host to a diverse and exciting array of bands, a lineup that manages to maintain the high standards set by opening act Love Is Science Fiction. Despite the 12 or so people in the room, LISF play like they are in a crowded warehouse party, a venue they better start relegating to their gigging history if this gig is anything to go by. Drummer Steph is a tom-heavy rhythm behemoth matched for sheer hardcore-ness by guitarist Joey who sets his booming riffs amidst sheets of feedback while singer Al is literally all over the place, treating the stage like a jungle gym with scant regard for OH&S procedures. Songs like I Am A Boy, Cat Up A Tree the closing We're Not Going Hunting fly by in a flurry of inverted limbs, keyboard-as-surfboard horseplay, battered drums and wailing guitars. Finally, some music with a sense of danger and fun. Their ascendancy up the gig billings begins here.

In a refreshing left turn, Actor/Model have spent the recent months building on their mid-90s US underground passion and have now fashioned their own house. Eschewing guitars for keyboards for the first part of the set (though endeavouring to make them sound as much like guitars as possible) they even manage a gentle ballad (Mixtape) before returning to their well-worn stretched-out noisy rock. Their guitar and keyboard mix is dense and tightly woven and doesn't leave much breathing space, and their songs work best when there is a variety of movement and colours such as on the provisionally-titled Life Without Electrolane in which keyboard melodies often push through the bass-heavy drums and thick fog of guitar and sound all the better for the shift in texture. When singer Ricky French says 'thank you, it's been a lot of fun' it could well be us saying it to him. A top show.

When it comes to making each instrument count, Baseball should be giving lectures. Such is the obvious musical individuation of each member, this band must be one of the few around that actually don't sound like anyone else and have a very strong sense of self. No one could replace anyone in this band, and hearing them with a good mix is a revelation.The concert is something a tour through Thick Passage's obsessions which he gloriously realises on songs like The Wedding at Susa, the stark Lines and Lines and Lines, crowd-pleasing Soft Boy Factory and the closing fury of She Bakes Cookies. Nothing less than 100% given , and nothing less than their subjects deserve; an astonishing band.

Though similarly intriguing, tonight Kes Band are disappointing; a set only five songs long, only three of which have lyrics is not likely to make a fan happy, though it does provide a grand introduction. What they do illustrate though is their prodigious talent and singer/songwriter Karl Scullin's curious mix of Television/Neil Young and QMS in his imaginatively arranged songs. With Evelyn from Baseball doing a astonishingly tight job of filling in for Julian Paterson the band sound A1. Whether you like Scullin's voice or not, it's a vital part of the striking figure he cuts; back to the audience, fluid guitar, long hair held back in a clip and often perched on one leg - much like the Ken Loach's kestrel Kes, who the band aren't named after. Though it's clear they're not on top form tonight, there is something quite special going on here and their rise looks set to continue.

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