A Live Experience with GUNNS, Contrast and Hollow Everdaze at Shebeen, Melbourne, 23rd February 2016

jameslondon1_blue_blurThe lovely folk at PR talent, Positive Feedback, invited The Wandering Lamb to the Shebeen Bandroom on a sweltering night in Melbourne to listen to GUNNS, a four piece indie rock band from Perth. Buzzing from their support slot with The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jnr solo tour around Australia, GUNNS aired tracks from their recent EP, She’s A Rainbow. Support tonight came from local Melbourne shoe-gaze inspired bands Hollow Everdaze & Contrast.

Turning our backs on this very warm Melbourne night, we downed our Vietnamese imported beers and headed downstairs to the Bandroom for 3 bands we knew very little about. Foolishly, with time against us we literally heard the last note of Hollow Everdaze, who we learnt from the very polite ticket girl were great, “shoe-gaze sounding and they had an electric violin”, on listening to the music post gig, a nice soundscape so we look forward to adding this artist to our live repertoire.

Within moments of Contrast rumbling through the opening few chords of their opening track, with Joy Division inspired drum and bass rhythms, pounding in unison, I was transported back to early 1990, when I was around the same age as the band. With a heavy collection of shoe-gaze and drone indie pop in my music collection, this band instantly poked my attention. With what could have easily satisfied as an instrumental track before the whisper vocals found their way through the wall of sound, the opener was epic and ethereal. For a small venue, the mix was quite excellent.

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The two guitarists create a fierce wall of sound with layered swirling guitar effects and within hides a great melody that underlines each of their songs, despite the vocals sometimes being lost in the overall instrumentation, there is enough “tune” to make these guys rip out a memorable set that took me back to some of the great bands that gave me the musical ears that I have today. Rhythmically,  the excellent drumming and driving bass offered the right amount of force and intensity that allowed both guitarists to wash and meander around. Perhaps, with some more attention to their vocal purpose, It’s refreshing to know that these guys are out there and 3 years in there is a mound of potential on the cards.

Tonight is the final show for GUNNS before heading back to their hometown Perth, following a short but no doubt worthy tour with Albert Hammond Jnr (The Strokes guitarist/songwriter) spreading 4 nights across the east coast, and gauging from a few pictures on social media, it looks like Hammond found a couple of chums on his next visit to Perth.

GUNNS are described as making music of the dreamy surf-pop variety and as much as we would like to coin our own description, this is pretty the best way to describe what these 4 west coasters produce, accept tonight we really got a sense of the Nirvana/Oasis/Beatles variety of influence.  (Note: with bands that are known to us, a reference to similar bands is necessary to help us share with you, so no judgements please, as we know many of you do not like to be compared.)  Lead guitarist Jennifer Aslett, plays some fine guitar work, escalating all the tracks with melodic progression while singer Clinton Oliver, belts out some great vocals, particularly on their single track She’s A Rainbow, a psychedelic swirl of a track that we couldn’t help drawing comparisons of their fellow Perth made-its, Tame Impala. Perth certainly has a look and musical feel coming out of the city, the last few years and GUNNS are great contenders for some of the best we have heard.

With each band member choosing a “no-shoes” policy, their set was equally relaxed and confident. One of their earlier released singles, Who’s Gonna Be Your Dog?, oozes cool swagger and Oliver’s grinding vocals against Aslett’s guitar work had the rather small Tuesday night crowd showing their appreciation with a responsive swagger and head nod.

Trial running a brand new track tonight, it shows good sign of a band evolving in unique ideas and perhaps a tad more confidence too with a more polished sound showing signs of band that have just scratched the surface of what they are capable of producing. With supporting some big names over the last 2 years, let’s hope this Perth foursome build enough fan base over here to warrant a few east coast sell out shows.