The Art of Subtle Rock n Roll: Crepes, Dorsal Fin @ The Curtin, Melbourne, 04.09.15

Live music must slowly be slipping away from me, for I have recently only heard about The Curtin, a newish 300 capacity venue upstairs at the equally cool student hangout John Curtin Hotel, that makes for a mighty fine addition to the smaller venues of this town.  For  tonight, it seems a very appropriate venue, large enough to welcome what seemed a capacity crowd but for who they came to see, I am still not sure.

jameslondon1_blue_blurFor me it was local band Crepes (from Ballarat but Ill take ownership), who funnily enough Idiscovered through Swedish internet radio Gimme Indie ( and was instantly captured by their wonderful embrace with melodic pop, quirky lyrics and a sense of endless summer days.  The band were second on tonight’s bill, first up was Leah Senior who unfortunately we literally missed, walking in to a polite but appreciative applause.  On quick listen this morning, I’ll be sure to catch her live again.

Crepes are a tremendous band and have all the markings of very successful things if they keep writing some of the most catchiest and memorable songs that I have heard all year.  They have a front man (a round of applause please!), its been a long time coming for me to see a band who has a LEAD singer, and as far as laid back, indie breezy pop type music goes (not one for ear marking genres) Crepes are the Australian answer to the likes of Real Estate, Ducktails, Craft Spell.  The sort of music that you would be chuffed to have discovered at a SXSW Festival.

Tim Karmouche makes me feel bloody old but also bloody proud, a front man with charm, professionalism, a touch of cool and just enough confidence to make an audience want to listen in to the cleverly penned lyrics he delivers through an effortless vocal tone.  You can kind of get the feeling that I am a big fan of these Melbourne lads, so much so that  I was muttering to myself the idea of swooping them into a van and investing a load of cash into a future European tour.  Lads, look at, I may just find a big enough net to catch you in.

With their recent big release of Cold Summers EP, the band played a handful of tracks from the EP, along with their debut song Stages of Fear (with what Karmouche brands an oldie) and a brand new track, that despite a few live technical glitches, it was an insight into a progressive direction with a drum machine repeating an addictive beat, the shaking of some percussion, a drop-dead addictive bass line and a steady momentum that confirms these unassuming lads as contenders for some great things.

The band connect just enough to encourage each other through each song and provide the backdrop for Karamouche to lead each song with conviction and utter professionalism.  A few harmonies to boot add to the dynamic and take the live songs to another level.

It is early days for Crepes and one of the bands that tonight, reassured my faith once again in young indie music, particularly from my home town.  With what seems to be great management from Deaf Ambitions (Erin thanks for the offer of free tickets but I didn’t want to risk missing the band on a possible sell-out), I bloody well hope they keep on keeping on to make the success they deserve.

Dorsal Fins have around 105 people in the band, okay slight over exaggeration, but to the stage bounces a load of VERY happy and excited musicians who have to take the award for the happiest stage entry I have seen.  This is a band who clearly love what they do and even if there were 2 audience members, they would jam out quitehappily.  One part lead singer Ella Thompson appears almost in a state of euphoria as she vocally floats her way through opening track, accompanied by fellow vocalist Jarrad Brown who has the most interesting voice!

Having only learnt that the band are made of up members of Saskwatch and Eagle and the Worm, you can see the level of craftsmanship that each offer to their own instrument and to the band.  There is a lot of talent on one stage, perhaps to much for one man’s ears to take in all in one song.  Each song is full, vibrant and very diverse.  The second track invites two guys on to the stage who look like they just stepped out of their pub crawl for a quick vocal battle, confidently powering through a track that sounded remarkably like Kasabian.   A complete contrast to their opening song, before then moving quickly to their 3rd song that gets delivered all dark and eery.  I couldn’t keep up.  This band clearly have a lot to get through and a lot of ideas going around.

I couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of the 80’s influence in the majority of their songs, a kind of cheesy, tongue and cheek nod to some interesting references in my head, one being The Chantoozies, the band with Kate Ceberano and in a complete moment of coincidence, the band play into a cover of Pash, by non other than Kate Ceberano.  It made me feel all uncomfortably youthful like I was transported back to my years in the 80s and  I hated the song back then too.

Long and the short of it, Dorsal Fins are not my bag but if you’re looking for a band who love to throw a party on stage and make the blues go away, Id say you should check them out life. They are talented and write good old pop songs for the younger generation.  I am just a miserable bastard these days perhaps.