LIVE REVIEW: Stonefield @ OAF, Sydney 22/09/11

written by Chris Familton

Glass Towers have been steadily emerging this year as one of the more interesting young bands to watch. Down from Byron Bay they played a set that showed that touring is allowing them to relax more into their music without exhibiting some of the self consciousness that marked earlier shows. Guitarist Sam Speck still looks sleepy, shy and blissed out in the music while the others thrash out bright indie pop songs that mix everything from britpop choruses to post-rock guitar effects. The singles Lino the Lion and in particular the new one Gloom sounded impressive and ripe for radio play without pandering to the masses.

Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! took things in a different direction that included elements of funk, pop and again those chiming, delay heavy guitar lines that seem everywhere at the moment in indie music. What stood out was the vocals of Caitlin Duff who looks modest and humble yet possesses a fantastic, strong voice. She worked her way into the songs and had a habit of building the tension with some hypnotic interplay of melody and emotion. The richness of her voice was sometimes comparable to a Zola Jesus or Florence Welch when she really got going. Guitarist David Williams kept many entertained with his grins and facial expressions ensuring the music never felt too artful and serious.

Stonefield came heavily laden with hype – unfortunately most of it centred around the fact they are all sisters and they range in age from their early teens to early twenties. Forget the hype and believe what you hear on stage was the lesson of the night. This band can rock, albeit in a decidedly 70s retro, heavy rock style. Think Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, AC/DC and you know what you’ll get. As players they were all superb, especially guitarist Hannah Findlay who peeled off solos to perfection. Though their sound is still relatively obvious and transparent with its influences there were tons of moments where you could see where they are heading. Structurally they are trying some interesting time changes and playing with the primitive forms of heavy rock. They threw in covers of Whole Lotta Love and Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride yet it was their own songs like Through the Clover and Black Water Rising that stood out. Fantastic raw talent that can only get better.

this review was first published in The Drum Media.

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