Spookyland, Ainslie Wills @ Boney, Melbourne_12th September 2014


Images taken from Spooklyand Facebook page (thanks!)

Over the last few weeks, since we heard about Spookyland and honoring them with one of our first Baa Baa Blaahs (what we call our interviews), it has been a watchful eye and continues to be so, after all their newly released EP received one of our very rare Golden Rams (an accolade of excellence according to us Lambs.) Tonight’s gig would be the first time we saw this Sydney four piece live, headed up by the unique and talented songwriter Marcus Gordon.

Gigs on a Friday night are never an easy time to catch a band, most punters finishing a grueling week at work, hence our excuse for not arriving in time to head upstairs to the band room at Boney to catch Danks a solo electronic type artist who has been referenced to sounding a little like Jamie XX and the like.  Ainslie Wills however was second up on stage and with her whimsical, pained out drool that sounds uncannily like Martha Wainwright, Ainslie Wills yearned through a handful of tracks with her trusted guitarist by her side, sweeping through wondering chords and guitar pedal effects that helped save all her songs tonight.  Wills is a very good artist and a talented songwriter but each time we see her live, we cant help feel a missing factor. The sparseness of her music is sometimes mesmerising and perhaps that is the whole point, but we cant help thinking how a few more instruments and some rhythm to bridge her songs together would make her such an exceptional artist.

The lads from Sydney are playing tonight in support of the highly regarded EP “Rock and Roll Weakling”, a tremendous offering full of 70s swagger, somewhat British guitar inspiration and lead singer Gordon’s unmistakable Bob Dylan type nasal vocals. What Marcus Gordon lacks in stage presence and stature he makes up for his front man modest and powerful focus on his music. They are a tight sounding band and look good on stage, they look like a gang and this is what many Australian bands are missing and seem to miss.  The stage is tiny and perhaps was the reason why they were conscious of each other as to not trip on a lead, but what makes a band feel like a “band” is how they communicate on stage, and these guys do exactly that, they play as a band.

Each song, including the title track of the EP sounds fresh, current and energised, it was a real shame that there were not more punters here tonight.  Gordon’s fellow guitarist (name unknown for now), had an almost Jonny Greenwood influence, not a bad comparison if we may say so ourselves, not to mention the great rhythms of the bass and drum, that live come across far more prominent live than on the recordings.  The bass player had some outstandingly nice melodies that sometimes actually carried the song, rare in todays local music scene from what we have recently heard.  It gave a nice edge.

After a short 30 minute set, the night was over. There were some great moments to the set tonight and despite only a handful turning up to listen to what these guys are capable of doing live, I speak for all that we were not disappointed.  Spookyland have just scratched the surface of what they want to achieve, and without coming across all Molly Meldrum or John Peel, in time, we really think, if they can push through their sound and define what they want to be, these guys could really fly as a band, lose that cardboard signage at the front of the bass drum and take on more than just a few punters tonight.  Good luck to them.