It’s now over for Melbourne duo Sodastream
, who played their last gig ever in front of a full house at the East Brunswick Club on Friday night. Once again, Karl and Pete (and regular drummer Marty Brown from Art of Fighting
) treated their fans to a live performance full of the rich, gorgeous melodies and quiet hushed tones the boys have become known for over their ten year career.
The night started up with two fantastic support acts. First it was Paddy Mann (aka Grand Salvo
) who treated the small crowd who had rocked up early to his gentle reflections on domesticity. I’ve never seen Mann play live before but I adore his 2005 release The Temporal Wheel
and was just as captivated listening to the highlights of this record live.Note: Grand Salvo’s next gig is at the Northcote Social Club on Thursday March 29 supporting the CD launch of Sydney duo Rand and Holland with The Crayon Fields and Pikelet. R&H have just received a first class review in Mess and Noise, the Crayon Fields were loved by many in 06, and the wonderfully named Pikelet is an intriguing performer with enormous promise. This should be a great night. Buy your ticket here. Also visit these links to read Mess and Noise feature articles about Rand and Holland and Pikelet.
Anyway back to the gig. Next up was Anthony Atkinson
with his band the Running Mates. I really enjoy Atko’s live performances, and Friday was no different. A couple of weeks ago I praised ‘She Let Him In’ but I have since purchased Loyalty Songs
and I now think ‘Sunday Drives’ is as good if not a better tune. I kind of wished the crowd would have sparked up a bit more for Atko’s toe tappers because I think Atko thrives off a bit of crowd movement, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be tonight.
Then it was Karl and Pete’s turn. Before the gig I was debating the circumstances which they decided to call it quits. I try to imagine Pete and Karl having a fist fight, but quickly realise this is probably off the mark. When they step on stage they still seem the best of friends. Then I think that perhaps I’ve watched far too much shit TV and also that my prediction of a sordid love triangle ripping the band apart was also not likely to be accurate. Comments by Karl actually suggest that relentless unenjoyable overseas tours and a family issue may have been deciding factors in the break up.
As always is the case, the guys deliver a near faultless performance. The sound is lush as their records, Karl’s beautiful wail floats above Marty Brown’s brushed snares and Pete’s fingers slide and bow glides around and across the double bass. And they are fascinating to watch as well. Especially Pete, as he closes his eyes, drifts away and sways and jolts with the mood. He is so involved, and clearly still moved by the music he writes and performs.
It is neither celebratory nor funereal atmosphere, but this doesn’t detract from the gig at all. In fact it all feels very genuine. There are few amusing anecdotes from the past and few thankyous, but definitely no bells or whistles, no guest appearances, no melodrama. It feels like a night to remember Sodastream for how they really are, not by some super duper finale which is unrepresentative of how they performed across their career. And the fans are relatively polite too - no drunken requests, just appreciative of the music and the moment.
There is a hint of sadness as Karl quivers when he speaks towards the end. There is a thankyou to a few people and the fans, and then an announcement that this is the end. There is no encore because they are in need of a drink. Just before they walk off there is a warm embrace between the pair. The crowd smiles, there is maybe even a wet eye or two. It is a quite a touching moment and will leave a lasting impression from a great Melbourne band.
Below is a tracklisting from the gig. Note there are only two tracks from Reservations
, which was a bit of a surprise, and no ‘Fitzroy Strongman’ – my favourite Sodastream song. :(
Keith and Tina
Let It All Turn Black
Mood in the Bunker
Some of these tracks and more are available to stream and download here