Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The Workers Club, 30/03/2013
From the moment The Red Lights step on stage, the rapidly filling and chatty Workers Club snap to attention. Boasting tight, charging melodies and Dean Valentino’s laser-beam precision for guitar and vocal lines, the three-piece channel a rousing vein of clean guitar pop with bags of swagger. Ghosts, Radio and This Just In are Killer(s) Strokes of harmony-driven indie rock and an irresistible blast from the early 2000s. Their catchy hook-laden tracks let their set rise like a Phoenix from the hypoglycemic slump of a Good Friday evening; they’re the perfect choice for a Bloc Party. I’ll stop now.

Tully on Tully is a shining example how much great music there is in this town, and a reminder of how few great performers there are to sell it. Singer Natalie Foster is a mesmeric presence on stage; totally committed to the performance and fronting an incredibly proficient four-piece. Struggling against sound issues while dispatching their playlisted single Naked, it’s still clear they’re going from strength to strength with every gig a new high point and further evidence of Foster’s evolution to being a genuine star. The twisting heartbreaker So Close to Over is a sterling example of the songwriting chops at work, and with an album due later this year, it's thrilling to see a band this good before the spotlight reaches them. After a monstrous take on current single Stay they close with Going on Like This, its glorious spiraling guitar work and Foster’s bell-clear vocals earning the raucous audience reception. 

Six-piece Lurch and Chief have gone from anonymity to packing out the Espy and now the Workers Club in under a year, and from their opening track it's easy to see why. Psych-pop hooks clash with southern rock attitudes in an intriguing way, and though the rock is played with reverence there is a sense of fun that infuses all they do. Without ever suggesting there is a chance of ‘losing control’ or getting too down and dirty, all the touchstones for an Australian Alabama Shakes/Black Keys are present; hirsute frontman who looks like he drove the band here in his Chevy, wailing girl soul singer, crunching riffs and deep and loose rhythm section. The burgeoning talent, curiously long song structures (essentially adhered riffs rather than verse/chorus) and stage proficiency mean they're only going to get more and more known, and for the right reasons; tonight’s audience are already vocal converts. All the sounds are spot on (particularly single I’ll See You on Planet Z), the look is fantastic and singers Hayden Somerville and Lili Hall work well together, but the ingredients haven't quite found their right amounts yet. It won't take long, and it will be fantastic when it does (I predict a Golden Plains 2014 slot and Jack White to be a fan). Tonight’s single launch for stellar closing track On Your Own is a pitstop on a journey to greatness.

Andy Hazel

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