LIVE REVIEW: Earthless, The Shrine, Elysium Eternal @ The Hi-Fi, Sydney (04/01/14)

Earthless |photo by Chris Familton
Earthless | photo by Chris Familton

Japanese trio Elysium Eternal played to a sparsely populated Hi-Fi but they didn’t let that deter them from pulling out their raw and organic psych rock sound and stage moves. Now into their third decade their music hasn’t evolved greatly since the early 90s. Still essentially classic rock with stoner and doom elements thrown into the mix. They allowed dynamics to shape the songs rather than just bludgeoning the audience with rock stereotypes, even including a cover of a Flower Travellin’ Band song as a nod to the psych rock lineage they came from. In all it was good set though one that would have benefited from a smaller venue with more people and atmosphere.

The Shrine certainly shook things up, inspiring the more energetic and lubricated members of the audience to start a half-hearted circle pit. Launching headlong into each song with a brief and frantic introduction the trio harnessed the brattish elements of skate punk and enhanced it with both classic rock and heavy metal riffs and hair shaking attitude. The energy of their music was the most immediate attraction though when they halved the pace and dug out some grooves from the tumbling rock rubble they enhanced their appeal immeasurably. Their set ended disappointingly with their Lemmy-esque bassist losing power to his amp and resorting to joining the audience, who graciously and literally showered him in beer while the drummer and guitarist stretched and jammed out the song.

Earthless have built their reputation on epic live shows with 20 minute plus songs and endless psych rock soloing. The band didn’t disappoint though the bunch of punters who decided to ignore the musical intricacies and drunkenly throw themselves around until some were dragged out by security made for an annoying distraction. Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton seemed oblivious to all that though, lost as they were in the job at hand. All three were essential to the epic sweep and grand dynamics on show across the two songs they played. Yep, two songs in an hour-long performance. Surprisingly there were few if any lulls in the music, such was their mastery and endurance as the rhythm section created their own shapeshifting sonic palette over which Mitchell conjured an endless array of spiraling solos and Hendrix-like chordal shapes. Riveting, absorbing and totally immersive, Earthless took psych rock taken to its logical and hypnotic extremes.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music


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