Monday, September 28, 2009
PRINCE OF WALES
Though Dick Diver are the first support on, praise for them has already filled so many column inches that attention must turn to tonight’s second act, a well-promoted band of Sydney youngsters. Bridezilla are easy to be impressed by, though there are some sceptics who wonder how such a little-known band have managed to both play on Love My Way, at Sydney Opera House, All Tomorrow’s Parties at both Mount Buller and New York and have the legendary Kramer fly over to produce their debut album. Tonight they give good evidence for their credentials.
The five-piece’s lineup of sax, violin, tom-heavy drums and two guitars (often playing identical chords) has both its pros and cons. Being very mid-range heavy does no favours to singer Holiday Carmen-Sparks’ barely-audible and breathy vocals though the interplay between Daisy Tulley’s violin and Millie Hall’s saxophone is often wonderful. Pia May’s guitar work is a huge asset for the band who struggle to construct either a memorable song or folk/jazz-fusion ‘piece’ though the parts are often dazzling and there are clearly enough ideas here to mark the band out for future greatness.
With many suggestions that Spiral Stairs may be joining Stephen Malkmus on stage for the first time since the last Pavement show in 1999, hopes are high and camera phone batteries primed. Malkmus proves himself as inscrutable live than on record. Squinting at the setlist, refusing eye contact with anyone, ignoring most heckles and minimal banter. Kicking off with Dragonfly Pie the set is heavy on the most recent Real Emotional Trash album, the crowd are on side straight away, and seem to enjoy themselves more than the band. Janet Weiss’ drumming is peerless, bassist Joanna Bolme only smiles during an accurate heckle while Mike Clark officiously switches between guitar and synthesizer.
A new song Senator shows that the songwriting gift isn’t leaving Malkmus anytime soon while Out Of Reaches and the bizarre Hopscotch Willie work fantastically live. Jo Jo’s Jacket, Do Not Feed The Oyster and It Kills set Malkmus’ beloved guitar noodling in catchier territory. Tellingly, a second microphone is set up (Malkmus appropriately dubs it the ‘fantasy microphone’) which suggests history is about to take place and we will see half of Pavement on the same stage. Alas, it is not to be, the mic goes unused and instead we get a storming version of Baby Come On, which he dedicates to Lobby Lloyd. A potentially thrilling gig becomes merely great.