TWL continues ito explore the new phenomenon of “chaps wearing caps”, sweeping the country, already found to have affected bands like DIIV, DMA’S, Jack Garrett, Mac Demarco and now Homeshake, who tonight play upstairs at The Curtin. Beyond fashion, tonight they prove that you don’t need refine your “look” to play music that oozes so much sex appeal. Support came from Kirkis, who intrigued the crowd with his avant-garde and provoking performance, while SMILE played out a diverse and excellent set of drone to pop rock. This was a night of musical all-sorts.
Crouched over a selection of pedals and what appeared to be a moog synth with a microphone stand inverted to hold the mic very low to the floor, Kirkis, played out a set that may have disturbing quite a few Homeshake fans. Taking a moment to allow this avant-garde’s performance wash over me, there was something intriguing and captivating about this multi-instrumentalist, producer and artist, a composer if you like. Matthew Kirkis creates sounds that trudge the line of accessibility , an introspective sound-scape that is often awkwardly placed with layers of guitar feedback, synth glitches and various other effects that in moments reminded me of very early Spacemen 3, where the challenge was to take music to its listening edge.
SMILE first crossed TWL’s path around August last year, when the band sent us their new cut Boundless Plain To Share. Amongst all the other music we received we didn’t hesitate to feature it on our Weaning Lambs post, a song that drives along so effortlessly with repetitive chords that bring together the best bits of Shoegaze and Drone-Pop. SMILE stand out from other Melbourne bands for refusing to stick to one music genre, taking us on a round trip with tracks like Boundless Plain to Share to Born Again, a song that would tweak the interest of any Real Estate fan. Holiday, is edgy, post-punk and gritty that could have post-punk Brit aficionados The Fall proudly wishing they penned it. The band are super tight, professional and by tonight’s judgement stand on their own two feet by way of fan base, and we can see why, tonight TWL has joined that flock.
Feeling quite satisfied from two completely different but perfectly entertaining support artists, Homeshake meander on stage with caps on heads and Peter Sagar, singer/songwriter calling out through the microphone, for the whereabouts of Brad, “We’ve lost Brad!”, he said and for what outstanding bass work we were about to experience, they are lucky they found him. Homeshake, may look like a bunch of inconspicuous trouble-makers (do not be offended chaps) what they deliver is a collection of music that is smooth, laid-back, painlessly smooth and so so, erm sexy.
Sagar’s voice gets muddled through some sort of vocoder that takes it up a few octaves, sounding more like he has just sucked a handful of helium balloons, cleverly allowing his voice to go full falsetto that adds to that layer of, dare I say it, sensuality. The band play through an assortment of songs from both albums, although tonight, it is the new material from second album Midnight Snacks that are stand out, Heat, will go down as one of the smoothest indie songs in some time.
This was not a night of standout moments or standout songs, more a performance of mood where the songs molded perfectly into one another with no surprises or clear song winners, collectively playing out like one cool vibe. Brad is one of the best bass players I have heard in some time, not for his complexity and prowess as a musician, but knowing when to play each note to create the perfect groove, the back bone on each track. Sagar knows it too, as he announced to the audience, an introduction to him.
The Curtin doesn’t offer a rock star stage exit option so on closing the set, the band walk out to the side of the stage and pass the eager audience, pretty much knowing that they will be back in moments to play another song or two, and wouldn’t you know!?!? The band politely push their way past again to the delight of the capacity crowd and once again settle the sleepy minds of are nicely sedated audience. Monday nights are never an easy slot for a band, but tonight this was outstanding, surpassing all expectations and a confirmation that Midnight Snacks may well be a contender for top 10 album of the year.
Photography by Georgia Grace