LIVE REVIEW: Super Wild Horses/Straight Arrows @ GoodGod, Sydney 12/08/11

Straight Arrows | photo by Chris Familton

written by Chris Familton

The Gooch Palms set off the evening with some nudity, tattoos and wild garage rock and it was impressive stuff for a two-piece of just guitar and keyboards. Granted there were some pre-recorded drums thrown into the mix but most punters probably didn’t notice the lack of a drummer with the over-the-top antics of frontman Leroy Macqueen. With an impressive chest tattoo. bleached hair and hot pants he was the jester and the showman all rolled into one. Keen to shock and provoke the crowd he courteously introduced us in person to his balls and his arse cheeks amid the garage punk rama-lama sounds. The Gooch Palms were raucous, hilarious and strangely captivating both musically and visually.

Straight Arrows are heading off to tour the USA so this was a farewell show of sorts for them. Spirits in the band and audience were high with party poppers being thrown around, unlimited stage energy and one of the best sound mixes at GoodGod in recent memory. Their album from last year It’s Happening was a trebly and suitably ramshackle sounding record but live they have mutated into a well rounded and solid garage rock outfit. Bad Temper was gloriously bratty and played even faster than the album version. What makes Straight Arrows such a great band is their ability to play quick and dumb before heading into more finessed territory like the melodic gem It Happens Again and the sleazy ghost sounds of Haunted Out.

Super Wild Horses are still playing tracks from last year’s Fifteen and now that they’ve lived in and have been played over and over they sound a lot freer and less mechanical than they have in the past. There was a real balance between Hayley McKee and Amy Franz with both sharing the guitar, drums and vocal duties. Playing music so simple requires the confidence to deal with the spaces and they’ve refined their sound to get maximum impact from limited resources. Mess Around and Fifteen were both irresistibly catchy yet the songs where they allowed more texture and shadows into the guitars and cymbals also made for some superb highlights. Adrian felt like a 60s west coast beach party soliloquy while Golden Town was Super Wild Horses showing they can play create a big and dense and heady sound when they want to.

this review was first published in The Drum Media

LIVE REVIEW: Donny Benet @ GoodGod Small Club

DONNY BENET | PHOTO BY CHRIS FAMILTON

written by Chris Familton

Kirin J Callinan is one of the more eccentric musicians on the Sydney scene creating dark splashes of guitar as sidekick to Jack Ladder and as a solo artist. Tonight he was the latter, playing a set that was stark, noisy, brooding and caustic and ultimately intriguing. His guitar style was open and highly evocative of everyone from the experimental side of Neil Young to no/cold wave brittle funk built around loops and effects. Callinan likes to make his performances as striking visually as they are musically and so for this show he was in ghoulish makeup which worked effectively in combination with Goodgod’s shadowy lighting.

Collarbones were just as quirky but on an entirely different plane. Two guys, a laptop, effects units and a mic is all that was needed for the duo to cook up some inspired dance-floor action with their brand of glitchy, r’n’b flavoured electronic pop. These guys have a great synergy with each other both musically and as performers and showed a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour which always goes down well. They started with a Justin Bieber cover and proceeded to take a collage approach to blending all manner of styles with Marcus Whale‘s pop croon tying it all together.

Donny Benet is the man of the moment and with a debut album to be launched and celebrated he graced the Goodgod stage in his baggy white suit and mustache and laid down a highly entertaining set of electro pop. It is a fine line that Benet walks – between brilliant concept and being a novelty/joke band. He succeeded in leaning toward the former by not overplaying the character and for the most part playing the music proficiently and with authenticity. His sound lies firmly in the 80s with tinny electro drums, funk bass, a heavily processed guitar and a keen mastery of the pitch bender on his moog and measured against the future pop of that decade Benet pays homage with both sincerity and a knowing wink. Girls of Japan, single and album title track Don’t Hold Back and Takin’ The Heat were standouts and though Benet’s voice is his weakest asset he made up for it with charm and some killer guitar and synth solos. He finished with a cover of Elvis’ Burning Love which sounded like Sigue Sigue Sputnik colliding with Suicide. It was that good.

See more photos from the gig HERE

this review was first published in The Drum Media