LIVE REVIEW: Toy, Glass Towers @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (19/06/13)

DS Featured Imagetoy

by Chris Familton

Glass Towers have been fine tuning their brisk indie guitar tales of young love, lost and won for a couple of years and they played an almost seamless set of cascading guitar melodies and energetic enthusiasm, particularly singer/guitarist Ben Hannam who manages to combine the sound of Robert Smith, Morrissey, Alex Kapranos and Ian McCulloch in his wounded yelp. They lacked any one or two standout songs to capture the ears of the casual observers which lent their sound a certain sameness over their whole set. That aside they were an entertaining and clearly talented group with a smattering of enthusiastic fans down the front.

Toy came on in a haze of dry ice and green and pink lights, heads bowed toward their instruments through a collective curtain of hair and black jeans and proceeded to take us through their singles and a handful of tracks from their debut album. There was little interaction with the audience and no great euphoria from the crowd which explained their lack of surprise or disappointment when the band saw no need for an encore after a set that was well short of an hour in length. Regardless, Toy lived up to their reputation as dreamy exponents of propulsive, psych-leaning krautrock and post punk. When they locked into the grooves of Dead & Gone, Motoring and the autobahn post punk of Kopter they sounded genuinely thrilling and inventive, generating a sea of busily nodding heads.

As good as it sometimes was their set felt like an introductory showcase event and there was a sense they showed all the tricks they currently possess. Another album under their belt will give Toy more shape, depth and hopefully a little more edge and no doubt a return visit will show us just that. In the meantime this performance was good but by no means as immersive and transportive as their kind of music should be.

 this review was first published in Drum Media and on themusic.com.au

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.

NEWS: 2009 SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS lineup…

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SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS 2009 – 1ST LINEUP
Bloc Party (in their ONLY Australian show), The Flaming Lips, Jane’s Addiction, MGMT (also in their ONLY Australian show), Hilltop Hoods, Grinspoon, Midnight Juggernauts, The Specials, Sarah Blasko, Augie March, Josh Pyke, Friendly Fires, Little Birdy, Birds Of Tokyo, The Gutter Twins, Manchester Orchestra, Yuksek, Bob Evans, White Lies, Kram, Yves Klein Blue, Decoder Ring, Lost Valentinos, Leader Cheetah, Jack Ladder, The Middle East, Polaroid Fame and Glass Towers

SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS 2009 TICKET PRICES
Event ticket:  $240.00 (inc gst) + bf
Carbon Offset Ticket: $245.95  (inc gst) + bf
Camping ticket: $132.00  (inc gst) + bf

TICKETS ON SALE
9.00am sharp on Thursday May 14th – Internet sales only – http://www.qjump.com.au

SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS 2009
Sat July 25th and Sunday July 26th
Belongil Fields,
Byron Bay