LIVE REVIEW: Girls @ Manning Bar, Sydney 08/12/10


photo by Joel Carrett via The Dwarf

written by Chris Familton

First up were Step-Panther, an up and coming Sydney band who just keep getting better. Their songs have shifted from bratty punk origins to now include surf melodies, 60s pop sounds and a Ramones-like approach to telling street stories. Their song Jimmy should be a smash hit and their casual demeanor should gain them a bucket load of fans.

Deep Sea Arcade have been pushing on with single releases of late and Keep On Walking continues their strong run of super catchy garage pop songs – all economically structured and with as much dark mood as bright spark. Frontman Nic McKenzie looked loose and relaxed with his helium drawl surfing over the top of the bands 60s strut and psych swagger. Lonely In Your Arms sounded particularly great with it’s haunting surf guitar and the song’s infectious hooks.

So to Girls – a band that produced one of the better album’s of 2009 and rekindled indie’s love for lost summer love songs and goofy innocence. With a stage adorned with roses they shuffled on and immediately showed how important the last year has been in terms of touring the album and a band learning to live inside the songs and throw new shapes and angles into the music.

As expected Chris Owens played the ‘aw shucks, you love us, you really love us’ humble frontman role while the rest of the band kept their heads down, serving the songs. Owen’s collaborator Chet JR White showed how important his bass playing is to the overall sound of Girls. It was round and full and the notes seemed to tumble effortlessly from his fingers, especially on the single Laura.

Lust For Life, Lauren Marie and Ghost Mouth were all splendid renditions with a crystal clear sound mix allowing the all encompassing melodies of band and singer to really shine through. That was until some late set mic feedback caused minor distraction.

Hellhole Ratrace was a highlight with its circling chorus building up a wonderful hypnotic and happy/sad feeling in the room as the song grew wings and soared on the back of some inspired guitar work. Morning Light burst out of the previous song’s feedback and it felt like it was igniting the set with a driving Swervedriver sonic rush before they settled back into the love-lost slow tunes.

The show ended on a rather lackluster note with the band milling about, unable to decide what, if anything else, to play. Realising they were looking lost they called it quits and ambled off after again thanking the crowd for showing up. Musically the show swung from the sublime to the stumbling but Girls definitely showed they could back up a brilliant debut album with an entertaining live show.

this review first appeared on The Dwarf

MP3: Deep Sea Arcade | Keep On Walking

I caught Deep Sea Arcade a few weeks back launching their new single Keep On Walking and on first listen it stood out immediately as a catchy, stomping little gem. Grab the MP3 below and catch the lads on tour…

MP3: Deep Sea Arcade | Keep On Walking

Tour Dates

Thu 30 Sept – KAROVA HOTEL, BALLARAT – Cloud Control Tour

Fri 1 Oct – CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE – Cloud Control Tour

Thu 14 Oct – BAR ON THE HILL, NEWCASTLE – Cloud Control Tour

Fri 15 Oct – THE METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY – Cloud Control Tour

Thu 21 Oct – THE GREAT N’THN HOTEL, BYRON BAY – Cloud Control Tour

Fri 22 Oct – THE ZOO BAR, BRISBANE – Cloud Control Tour

Sat 23 Oct – COOLANGATTA HOTEL, COOLANGATTA – Cloud Control Tour

Wed 10 Nov – THE HIFI BAR, BRISBANE – The Charlatans Tour

Thu 11 Nov – THE METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY – The Charlatans Tour

Fri 12 Nov – THE BILLBOARD, MELBOURNE – The Charlatans Tour

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LIVE REVIEW: Deep Sea Arcade @ OAF, Sydney 01/09/10

photo | Laurahellyeah via FasterLouder

written by Chris Familton

Sleepyhands were an enthusiastic bunch who looked like they had come straight from high school to OAF. They had an infectiously upbeat attitude that belied some deceptively layered music. With seven members, many swapping instruments, they incorporated banjo, multi-percussion and some magical three part harmonies that brought to mind Arcade Fire less the pomposity and Dirty Projectors minus the quirkiness.

Wim have some seriously good cred on their myspace page with a glowing LA Times review from a recent show over there. In singer Martin Solomon they have a wonderfully voiced frontman with a rich and warm tone. He carried just the right amount of eccentricity and stage presence to deliver a fantastic set of songs backed by an incredibly tight and understated band who understand the less is more aesthetic. The vocals and percussion were emotive and perfectly arranged to create both mood and melody. These guys play dark pop music akin to Wild Beasts – slowed and stretched but just as artfully constructed.

With their post-Strokes, brit-rock, 60s psych hybrid sound Deep Sea Arcade have built an impressive fanbase judging by the mid week turnout to celebrate the release of a new 7” single Keep On Walking. The OAF was fairly packed and buzzing with expectation when, right on time, the quintet rolled onstage. Their sound was crystal clear, full and punchy – props to the soundman – which meant that it was easy to rest on your heels and admire the band’s sonics as much as their arrangements and performance.

Deep Sea Arcade do big pop singles damn well, as shown by the response to the surging Lonely In Your Arms and the brilliant backbeat of Don’t Be Sorry with it’s 60s psych vibe. The new single Keep On Walking was as catchy as the other two, one of those instantly catchy songs that you know will lodge itself in your brain.

Though well received, there did seem to be a lack of real connectivity with the audience, mainly a result of the remoteness of the band. Singer Nic McKenzie prowls and bounces behind the mic in the manner of a more timid Liam Gallagher but did little to engage the crowd and build a rapport with them. Perhaps it is their thing – cool detachment. It didn’t detract from the music but it also didn’t encourage mass conversion from first time attendees.

this review first appeared in Drum Media

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