A Live Experience with Twin Peaks, Ouch My Face and White Bleaches @ The John Curtin Hotel 8th May 2016

Ryan2The Curtin Hotel is one of Melbourne’s classic live music venues, hosting all the hot up and coming acts. Last Sunday it opened it’s doors to one of the most exciting acts of current times, the Chicago based garage pop group Twin Peaks. As part of their first ever Australian tour, the boys brought along Melbourne’s very own art-punk trio Ouch My Face, and the garage-psych new kids on the block White Bleaches.

For those that haven’t been to The Curtin, or even those that just want to relive precious moments, it’s nice to set the scene. Picture a relatively cold Sunday night, walking through the double doors of The Curtin and round to the entrance of the band room. You walk up the stairs and realise this gig is going to be a lot more chilled than you thought. There’s streamers hanging from the roof, as well as a few pictures of Jesus, and above the bar proudly flies an American flag. You select a Budweiser from the range of drinks, cause hell why not, it’s the Twin Peaks beer of choice, and then you settle in to a nice spot. Then suddenly Jack Dolan (bassist of the freaking Twin Peaks!) casually strolls past you, and you become immeasurably more excited for the night ahead.

Hitting the stage first were the White Bleaches, one of the most interesting young bands making waves in the industry. This band know how to craft fuzzy psychedelic gems, with each song dripping reverb and floating on a sea of tremolo waves. Their shoegaze performance style made for a perfect start to the night, as their song ‘Psychic Visions’ left the audience unsure whether they should be bobbing their heads, or just sitting back and enjoying the music. Keep an eye out for their EP dropping later this year.

Up next was the eclectic sounds of the art-punk trio Ouch My Face. The band at first seemed like an acquired taste, punchy, shrill and in your face, but after settling into the rhythm of their set it was easy to grow a bit of a fondness towards them. Front woman Celeste Potter proved to be one of the most intriguing stage presences I’ve ever come across, sporting an incredibly fierce vocal style and crunchy guitar. Playing a mixture of old and new songs, specifically off their recent album ‘Bunyip’. ‘Now’ with it’s trance like repetitiveness turned out to be a crowd winner.

Twin Peaks aren’t your typical garage pop group. While they have elements of slacker pop, their music is highly considered, layered and packed full of intricate and catchy melodies. Casually setting up, the boys had cigarettes hanging from their mouths, and bottles of Budweiser at various stages of emptiness scattered across the stage. The energy amongst the crowd continued to grow as it became evident that this was going to be a fun show, with just a bunch of mates playing music that they love.

Their set was packed with crowd favourites from their first and second album, played loud and proud, with a good smattering of songs (some unheard) from their new album ‘Down In Heaven’ due out May 13th. Full of the diversity that three lead singers brings, the crowd was treated to a very dynamic show. Clay’s onstage antics made for a hilarious sight during ‘I Found A New Way’, spending his time equally between the floor and standing up. When standing, he went out of his way to ensure he stared intensely into the distance with a cheeky smirk, which was slightly unsettling to say the least. Cadien represented a somewhat cooler presence, oozing a classic rock ‘n’ roll swagger as he crooned his way through ‘Walk To the One You Love’, but at times trading calmness for insanity as he equalled the mosh pit’s intensity during ‘Telephone’. Jack, while not quite as entertaining as his fellow vocalists, still managed to entice the crowd into frenzies as he rolled smoothly through the songs.

As the set continued, the energy among the crowd and the band fed off each other, increasing with momentum as the band loudly bashed through ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Flavour’, before reaching a spectacular peak during ‘Making Breakfast’. Arguably the band’s most popular song, this good time inducing lo-fi gem had the crowd hooked from the very first chord, producing the first crowd surfer of the night, with the energy carrying over into the final song ‘Strawberry Smoothie’. With a not so obligatory “one more song” chant, the boys left the stage with beers and fresh cigarettes in hand, as fans rushed to the merch stand to grab an advance copy of the unreleased new album. Having purchased an album myself, I can confirm it is a cracker, and come May 13th I suggest you wrap your ears around it.

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