Hunting Season, Elliot Friend, Duoux_Shady Lane at The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne, 24th September 2014

shady lane

Shady Lane continues to deliver a fresh take on the Melbourne (and Australian) music scene, hand picking some rather great talent.  Tonight brought another eclectic mix of musical genres together from three local Melbourne bands. Duoux, are a duo who meld electronica with washy guitars, Elliot Friend, nod to momentary The XX while headliners tonight, Hunting Season bring folk-rock back to the Melbourne scene.

You cant beat a mid week gig in the setting of the Evelyn, especially tonight when the god’s decided to unleash on Melbourne with heavy rain and blast of chilly air.  Okay, yes it is Melbourne, but winter is getting a bit tiresome, move on!  So, leant against bar, pint in hand, I took a moment to ponder the Australian live music scene and question the extent of its strength.  Long and the short of it, I hear that we have a thriving music scene but it worries me that we just don’t put the money where our mouth is and get out and support.  There was a tidy little turn out for tonight’s gig, but as I delve into critique and review, I urge you all to get out there and really support our live music scene, you’d be sorry if it were to leave us.

So to the stage comes Duoux and we were quickly reminded of its pronunciation by charismatic lead singer Jess Tyler before kicking in to some nice gentle beats, strummed atmospheric guitars and a highly delayed vocal.  I think it is fair to reference local bands to the more popular ones, I have this idea that it helps get punters along to bands that they would otherwise not know about.  Think a heavily stripped back M83, a bit of The XX and you have a fair idea on what you are in for.  Although marked as a duo, tonight they are supported by a very impressive bass player, who for me, stole the performance, it was the musical glue that held this short set list together.  Tyler has a great presence about her and armed with some heavy delay on vocals it works nicely to create their overall soundscape. Callum Biddy, programmer and keys knows his frequencies and there are some real moments of bliss in what comes out of his keyboard and laptop combination.  I don’t know much about these guys, but with some visuals and a bit more togetherness, they are great act to watch out for.

Elliot Friend are another Melbourne based band, who again were new to fresh ears, so with an uncategorised band name (Im not sure I like the idea of that), I had little idea what to expect.  Lead vocalist Benita Sullivan has an accomplished voice and her stage presence was confident and chatty, it is always nice to see a band who actually look like they are enjoying themselves and believe in what they do.  Elliot Friend are tight and play together efortlessly, their music is simple, stripped back and quite heartfelt with moments of Californian pop.  Liam Milner, guitarist plays along in very considered precision and gives just enough to fill the void of this perfectly suited set for a wet and cold night.  Nice set.

I was told about Hunting Season by the gang behind Shady Lane, that I should head down to check them out, and of course I did.  After a quick listen on Unearthed Triple J (the one thing that we should thank Triple J for) it was clear that these guys have been a tight gang for some time, there music is thoughtful and, how do I say, “grown up”.  I couldn’t help drawing a quick comparison to Band of Horses on one particular track and strangely enough, The Doors and post gig chat it transpires I was not the only one.  Hunting Season take the stage like a gang of lads who like hanging out, like a band should be and the music they play is melodic, slightly rocky and full in well layered instruments.  Guy, the very charming soundman, mixed the band to perfection and despite the lack of attendance the band still played true to themselves.  The trouble with seeing new bands who you know little about is referencing their songs by title, perhaps I should get a set list but nevertheless, song 3, clearly shone over the rest, and judging from those sitting by me, the feeling was mutual.  My only gripe, and this is not just to the lads, it is to many local bands I see, is the tendency to apologise, it is a contentious issue I have and weakens the impact of live music.  I think with a bit more attitude, presence and belief in what they create, we may just see Hunting Season get the recognition they will deserve.