Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Any thoughts you might have to 'come inside for a drink in the historic Argus Building' as the sign outside Where?House states (“ooh lovely, I’ll bring mum!” says one), are banished swiftly by the  abrasive sounds jarring off the concrete walls echoing from inside and the hundreds of joyous punters, many released from exams and contemplating summer.

So much care has gone into this Where?House, it's provisions, it’s events and the lineup, that this is more like a ten-day festival than a mere temporary venue.

The juvenile percussion-fest of No Zu is at once colourful, danceable and full of gestures to Afro, Caribbean and funk. Their use of delay and copious bongo is reminiscent of pop’s first embrace of ‘world’ music in the early 80s, and they get the crowd moving in no time. Wild timbale and synth jams are anchored by some of the tightest basslines since Gang of Four’s Entertainment! Songs feature everything and the kitchen sink from beginning to end, hampering some of the intricacies, no one cares and everyone dances.

Without any warning at all, and before a crowd that must be nudging 800, Lost Animal bassist Shags Chamberlain walks on stage wearing a vinyl jacket, a grubby Bruce Lee t-shirt, a pair of jocks and a devil-may-care attitude. Though the raw, animal sensuality exuding from this hirsute beanpole of a man is almost palpable; somehow, the music becomes the focus of attention. Opening with Don’t Litter, singer Jarred Quarrell is instantly fired up. Not just because that’s his usual state when spitting and sneering his way through a set, but also because this concrete bunker is geared up more for the bass thud of a rave rather than the complex combination of synth percussion, programmed drums and melody lines. Between every song he barks instructions to the sound engineer. Regardless, the crowd is hooked. New song Do the Jerk sounds even more tense and misanthropic than its more famous counterparts, while formidable closer Lose the Baby has lost none of its power.

From such aggression and incisive intellect we move to the equally fascinating Oliver Tank, a bashful bedroom sonic electro wizard who creates tiny universes of warm intimate and reversed compressed clicks. Based in Sydney though sounding like he lives in the attic of a house shared by The Postal Service, múm and a rampant pothead, Tank knows a lot about making a mood. The dry ice and projections against the concrete roof is reminiscent of a rave in slow motion. Almost all of his songs are about dreams and rely on repeated motifs and cyclical lyrics, bar the burst of Drop it Like It’s Hot, which sends arms in the air, girls on the shoulders of boyfriends and everyone nuts. The whole gig feels like a movement as songs segue into each other, but, amazingly, for music this gentle and intimate, the crowd react like it’s a Big Day Out, once or twice even bringing a smile from behind Tank’s dangling fringe.

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