Monday, December 31, 2007

Built to Spill @ The Corner, 29/12

Having been a fan of winding fractured indie guitar stalwarts Built to Spill for some years, I was highly anticipating their first visit to Australia.

Their tour Australia kicked off with a show at the Corner on Saturday night. And did it live up to expectations???? Well, kind of.

It was a decent measured performance from the veteran quintet but perhaps a little inconsistent, displaying not only their mind blowingly brilliant yet splintering catchiness but also their sometimes overly introspective jam band tendencies.

Goin Against Your Mind was a major highlight early, the powerful rising ebb n flow dynamic energy accentuated after the band opened with three of their sharper, poppier numbers. Made Up Dreams was a perfect chaser.

The middle section however sagged a bit. It was probably to be expected with such a long set (approx 2 hours) in such heat, playing their intense meandering tunes but I wonder if meaty versions of Some or Mess With Time would have jolted me back into consciousness. In fairness to the band, the momentum wasn’t helped by some technical difficulties and the passing out of a dude down the front, both of which appeared to drag out the pauses between songs.

The band recovered their panache to end superbly with two of their best tracks, Conventional Wisdom and Carry the Zero, but the encore was a major disappointment. Randy Described Eternity started off in a blast but ended up floating around for far too long in improvised limbo.

Earlier in the evening, The Crayon Fields played OK, and it was great to hear previews of some of their new tracks, but, at the moment they are too shy to be a successful live act in front of such a large audience.

Gareth Liddiard, was his laconic, slurred yet intense self, sitting down and playing The Drones’ tracks solo over on the side stage. Unsurprisingly he could barely be seen or heard above the chatty and somewhat muscular crowd.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Meredith '07

Now that I'm all rested up and all Christmas committments are complete, it's time to start delivering the noos from the rooves.

Firstly, while you folks are probably starting to look ahead to Golden Plains, I'm going to reflect on Meredith just past. Once again, it was a great weekend, and kudos again to the organisers for putting together a great lineup. Could have done with a tad more variety in the acts, and perhaps a reshuffle of the scheduling, but these are ultimately just minor criticisms.

Here's a few thoughts on every band I saw on the Friday and Saturday. Sorry there's no pics folks.

Lady Strangelove
Heavy stoner-psych in the mould of Wolf n Cub but only with more instrumental and tangential diversions. Still relentlessly loud though, and also not that interesting

Black Pony Express
My first time seeing this dark soulful and textured country sextet, and I was impressed. One of the unexpected pleasures of the weekend.

Ned Collette
Still can’t seem to enjoy his new approach. Many of the songs just seem to meander into nowhere, and with his dry soothing delivery, it was a weird choice for this timeslot. Would have been better suited to Sunday morning.

The Galvatrons
Ridiculously tight eighties synthy hair rock seemed to appeal to many, but after enjoying them early in the morning at Roxanne several months ago, my opinion has changed. If it's a joke then i'd prefer and see a comedy show. If they're serious then they have a limited lifespan with this type of music.

Dr Dog
I find their songs overly derivative, but I was expecting a fun, wacky and flowery performance that would overcome their deficiencies. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite there. Not as much energy as I hoped, the sound was boomy and the lead singer’s voice screeched and grated a little.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Admittedly I was pretty drunk at this stage but I had a crazy time up the front during this set. My highlight of the festival.

Crystal Castles
Lead singer Alice Glass had wonderful stage presence with her punk attitude, sultry pouting and bouncy energy. Like Yeah Yeah Yeahs had discovered electro. Unfortunately there was a bit of crowd inertia which suggested I was one of only a handful of admirers.

Great way to kick off Saturday. Disturbed and seedy new sound was complemented perfectly by Conrad’s sleazy shoulder roles and hip movements. Guitarist Tom Carylon was a monster with the effects pedals. The squawking sprawling Rosa, a perfect closer.

Little Red
Fun as always with drummer Taka even cheerier than usual, mounting the drum kit for a joyous clapping routine, and some onstage dancing. Unsurprisingly they managed to win the crowd over with their enthusiasm, despite a few too many dud notes. Some of the new tracks sounded a bit too much like commercial R&B though.

The Black Lips
As with any fucked up rock band, the music was loud, raw and scuzzy. And then of course there was the confronting, and weird white trash rock n roll performance from this reportedly intelligent garage group involving vomit, blood, saliva and even a bandmate pash. Unlike anything I've seen before.

Andrew WK
I didn’t get close enough to the stage for this one, but simple themes combined with non-existent poetry, hair metal, elementary keyboard ability, and wacky interpretative dance isn’t just my thing. Maybe I just need to learn a little about L.O.V.E and instead just party party party?

Art Brut
Despite his obvious lack of vocal talent, Eddie Argos confirmed his reputation as one of the most dominant and witty front men around. The whole performance was really fun too, although at times it was over engineered so it was slightly irritating. Would have been great to get more vocals into the mix too to hear those deliciously ironic lyrics.

Midnight Juggernauts
Mysterious, sparkling disco stomp was rocked for this performance. Barely a still moment and more crowd interaction from Vince Juggernaut than I've ever seen before. One can only imagine the reaction if they had a later timeslot on Saturday.

Cut Copy
Started off quite flat, but hit their stride towards the middle of their set. Their fashionable synth washes over me fairly quickly but I still enjoyed them and were much better than in their Thursday night support set for Daft Punk. It must have been hard for them after the Juggernauts rocked the Amphitheatre earlier in the evening

The Gossip
Beth Ditto is, of course a great performer, but apart from her on-stage presennce, I didn't like them that much. Her ranting was quite tedious, and the music didn't seem to have much variation. A disappointing end to the night's live acts after Muscles was a late cancellation.

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Across the Rooftops 2006