A Live Experience with Green Buzzard, White Bleaches and Smoke Rings @ Shebeen, 31st March 2016

RyanShebeen is one of Melbourne’s many hidden bars, tucked away in an alleyway that not many know exists, but for Melbourne’s hard core music fans it’s a must.  With a décor inspired by the crossroads of various exotic cultures and sporting a mouth-watering food and drinks menu, Sydney’s eclectic rock-n-rollers Green Buzzard seemed right at home tonight.

Green Buzzard haven’t been flying for long, but since early 2015 they’ve been flying high with success after success. Signed to Melbourne’s excellent I Oh You, the band’s synth-soaked rock-n-roll vibe sounds like something straight out of the 70s, but with a very modern feel.

Arriving to the downstairs band room (with a quick stop at the merch table), dimly lit lights couldn’t mask the enthusiasm on the faces of the few eager fans already claiming the good spots. The rather tight space suggested that we were in for an intimate affair, and those suspicions were confirmed as Smoke Rings bashed through their set of jammy pop songs.  They managing to perfectly capture everyone’s Thursday night feeling with their song ‘Feelin’ Tired’, Smoke Rings set the direction for the night, with a crowd that slowly filtered in, creating a growing buzz.

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Adding a little more fuzz to the mix, White Bleaches hit the stage with their noisy garage rock grooves. With the bass booming and fuzz pedals set to maximum freakout, the psych inspired group set their shoe-gaze style set into swing with their track ‘New Age’. Layers of delay, reverb and fuzz dominated the space, hiding the gritty vocals that at times, seemed to drown within the noise. A few songs in, and the band seemed to have exhausted the majority of their material, their jams stretched and disorientated, but not without a fair share of bright moments. We have no doubt that as their catalogue grows, so too will their following.

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Kicking off their Easy Queezy Squeezy tour, the boys from Green Buzzard donned the stage wearing a collection of denim jackets and loose button downs, bleeding an obvious swagger. A faint projection on the back of the stage showed pixelated and blurred TV screen displays, fitting in perfectly with the old school vibes of the unique guitars and synthesizers scattered around the stage. The first notes of guitar sprang out across the room, tinged with a sweet candy-like effect, soon accompanied by huge thumping drums and the crunch of the rhythm guitar on their first track ‘Diggin’ A Hole’. Surprisingly, the band ripped through their latest single ‘(I Don’t Wanna) Break Your Heart’ second. Slow to hit their groove, the band was led by bassist Huw Feral in the ancient art of the boogie. Before long the rest of the band were bouncing along as they ploughed through their set.

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Leading the band through their arsenal of songs, frontman and vocalist Patrick Harrowsmith had a chance to showcase his practiced and considered melodies. As some kind of melody whizz-kid, Harrowsmith’s vocals sat perfectly just above the rest of the band, as he effortlessly sung his way through the delicious hooks of songs like ‘Guessing Games’.

The band are polished as they are smooth (despite one minor technical issue). Swirls of synth were perfectly layered between the crunch of the guitar and throb of the bass, but it was the synth that stood out during one of the crowd favourites ‘Slow It Down Now’. As soon as the opening riff sounded heads began to bounce and I even shared a ‘hell yeah this is our tune’ glance with my friend. It was at the climax of this song however, that Green Buzzard had hidden their ‘wow’ moment, as the tempo and noise dropped off until the synth was all that remained. What followed was the psychedelic head swirl of a synth freak-out, slowly rebuilding momentum and excitement until the rest of the band returned for the euphoric hook one final time. Continuing to flaunt work from their EP, the band flawlessly smashed through ‘Frequency Overload’ before reaching the ultimate crowd pleaser and all round head banger ‘Zoo Fly’. With an inherent knack for crafting absolute garage pop gems, it’s no surprise that stage invaders had made their way up to boogie with the band before the end of the song.

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Closing out the set, Green Buzzard seemed as though they were opting for a low-key finish, as Harrowsmith slung the acoustic guitar over his shoulders. For an audience that hadn’t yet heard the EP (it was due out the next day), it was a pleasant surprise to hear ‘Motorcars & Jaguars’ for the first time. A jumpy and feel-good song that upon repeat listens has quickly become my favourite, and a song that proved to be a fitting close to a slick and intimate set. Stage invaders once again found their way onto the tight stage, and jumped around for the duration of the song before hugging their new-found friends in the band good-bye. Before the audience even had a chance to realise, the band were gone and a sense of awe and exhaustion swept across the face of everyone present, the lights were on and the fall back to reality had commenced.

It will be interesting to see where Green Buzzard take themselves next. Their high energy and glossy set is something you’d come to expect from an experienced band, but their young enthusiasm gives them an edge that makes them a must see live act. Given that this is the band’s debut EP, there’s much room for growth and experimentation, but it wouldn’t hurt for them to sit on this for a while, this is nice.

Photography by Meghan McLeod

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