Sunday, June 9, 2013


Northcote Social Club
Proving not only that there are still plenty of good band names out there, but that there are still great supergroups left to come out of the Melbourne music scene, Early Woman dispatch any notions of slick professionalism within moments. Flaunting their gold lame and wandering vocal melodies proudly, singer and guitarist Hannah Brooks (Young Professionals, St Helens) and keys hammerer Bjenny Montero lead the band through a captivating set boasting cheap synth sounds, slap back vocal echo, and some brilliant bass playing from Rob Bravington, all of which keeps us in thrall to their brash take on early garage rock and girl groups. Songs like Believer are full of ideas and rusty pop hooks (even if they are all cribbed from Paul Kelly and John Maus, as Montero suggests). Future single I’m a Peach is a standout, but closing song Roadknight is the clincher. 

Three-piece Bushwalking are a band willing to drive a groove into the ground, and if you’re not with that groove things can get very same-y. In a lesser band this idea would be tedious, but as Karl Scullin is playing his saturated, spiky melodies over Ela Stiles churning bass lines and Nisa Venerosa’s percussive loops, it’s a wonderful thing. Stronger still is their harmonies. Matching then simultaneously swooping, their voices are never pretty or showy, but piercing without jarring. With the room packed to capacity before closing highlight Visual Jam Doughnut, the crowd responds warmly to a thoughtfully bludgeoning set.

Beaches are going from strong to Herculean, playing this, the first of two sold out nights to launch their second album, She Beats. Immediately noticeable are the shifts in dynamics and intent behind their music. It’s as if their self-titled debut album was made for the fun of making music, and the songs were played for each other, while this new batch feature vocals to the fore, motorik beats and guitars reminiscent of the previous night’s lightning storms, and it’s these newer songs that stand out. Send Them Away, Out of Mind, Dune and stellar Distance are full of purpose and drive and the transfixed crowd love every moment. Personalities have always shone through at Beaches gigs, and Gill Tucker’s wry smiles to the crowd and ‘Fuck I’m having fun!’ persona prevent accusations of solemnity that their Teutonic rock might suggest. Another example of one of this city’s finest bands owning it; this was always going to be a great night.

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