Three separate strains of psychedelic rock were on display at Goodgod with locals Blind Valley kicking things off in confident fashion. A quartet with a sound built around big Tame Impala-styled riffs, impressively melodic bass playing, Led Zeppelin atmospherics and a farfisa organ made them a varied and entertaining opening act. The arriving crowd responded in fashion, quickly filling that too often empty void in front of the stage and letting the music move them.
Newcomers Los Tones took the sound in a Black Lips-inspired garage rock direction with a suitably loose-hinged and physical set of whoopin’ and hollerin’, string-breaking ramalama-drenched surf rock. They have a narrowly defined sound but they executed it well, conjuring up images of mariachi bands jamming slack-jawed at drunken house parties.
The Murlocs have been building a reputation as one of the best live acts coming out of the current and fertile Melbourne psych scene. Their not-so-secret weapon is singer/harmonica player Ambrose Kenny-Smith with his screech and slacker demeanor that rides the band’s deceivingly hypnotic sound. Crammed onto the small stage they eased into their set but it only took a few songs before the up-for-it crowd were swaying and colliding with wide grins and closed eyes.
The Murlocs are all about rhythm and groove, hitting those droning, chiming chords that draw the audience in, removing that imaginary live between band and punters and even inspiring a couple of stage dancers. The band played with a sleepy, heavy-lidded vibe that enhanced the hazy, tranced-out mood of their set yet beneath it there was still a strong energy and vibrancy to the music, giving it a celebratory feel.
Rattle The Chain stood out as a real highlight, as did the new single Space Cadet and its wonderful shimmering and choppy guitars. With the sweaty punters baying for more they returned with their cover of Count Five’s Psychotic Reaction, showing the debt they owe to the original garage rock bands but also demonstrating their own style and the beat/blues/boogie sound that they’ve added to the mix. All three acts on the bill showed that rock n roll is in good hands with bands that know their musical history while still living in the now.
this review was first published in The Music