Friday, November 27, 2009
THE NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB
Leaving the more predictable but no less entertaining choices of John Safran’s Race Relations or Masterchef, enough people came to this show, the final of Skipping Girl Vinegar’s Wednesday night residency, to pack the place out and help it become an unquestioned success.
With some fans coming to all four of the weekly residency shows, it’s clear the level of fandom is becoming as huge as the effort the band clearly put into their songs, the show and the production. First up though, the No So sees an explosion of talent and potential in the form of the support band Drugs in Vegas, a band whose music is neither as desperate for good times nor as trashy as the name would suggest. Sounding more like a band trying to play dirty rock but too schooled on Death Cab For Cutie and Augie March to pull it off, there is a spontaneity and intensity balanced with a careful use of dynamics that brings to mind Art of Fighting at times. Closing songs Lines and Like Skin Folds in particular suggest that the best is yet to come from these guys (and girl).
Preceding their show with recordings of forest sounds and populating the floor with cushions and picnic blankets, and decorating mic stands with ivy and paper squirrels, SGV show again they are pushing the ordinary and functional into the special and personal. Showcasing several new songs in the two half hour sets they play, the opening Fly Little Bird draws in and gently disarms before the ever-splendid Wandered kicks off their energetic rollercoaster ride. Not satisfied by staggering sets with songs that feel like future classics and examples of a songwriter’s showcase, SGV build an evening that sets them is as appropriate an environment as could be conceived. Before the first set is through birthday cakes and (delicious) bird-shaped biscuits are handed round, a CD is given away, a Christmas stocking awarded to one of the several hardy 4-show fans and banter is consistently warm, natural and funny. New song Seasons is particularly fantastic while Nashville and Hell Out Of Town highlight singer/songwriter Mark Lang’s recent trip to the USA with their strong country flavours. While radio hits One Chance and Sift The Noise cause boisterous singalongs, the encore, Inconvenience, a rap written by Lang in Grade 8 is a surprising and hilarious highlight. SGV pulling out hip-hop, who knew?