They say opposites attract. Last Thursday was certainly no aberration as Inner West and Surfie vibes collided at Newtown Social Club in what was, in my humble opinion, the best gig the venue has had in recent times. The wander-lustful Caravana Sun, performing in anticipation for their soon to be released Guerrilla Club album are joined by fellow Cronulla locals Letters to Lions and also Brisbane ambassadors Hollow Coves. Together, they revelled in a night of Beach and Indie rock that brought out the fun lovin’ hippy inside everyone that was lucky enough to attend.
First up was Hollow Coves, who traded in the humidity of their hometown for a chilly night in Newtown. They appeared a little apprehensive which initially may have been a symptom of the hatching crowd. Nevertheless, armed each with an acoustic guitar, the pair tempered their nerves with a few songs with simple yet darling melodies that got the crowd listening. It got a little more interesting when Cairns and Henderson told of the coastal inspiration behind one of their fresh music videos and followed it up with the track to boot. As the nerves settled and the crowd started to pay closer attention the duo covered “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons which showcased their range that was somewhat missing in other songs. The standout was off their EP Drifting ‘The Woods’ which raised any Aussie endorphins among the supremely chilled out onlookers. In particular, the chorus which went “We all sit around the fire…We feel a little warmer now” perfectly summed up their 30 minutes on the stage.
Next up was Letters to Lions who were markedly different from HC in style and in energy. Judging by their unconventional get-ups (although quite normal by Newtown standards) and then by the guitar and drum thrashing and bashing, a few rock band influences intruded their way into my thoughts. Throw in a raspy voice that could use a few hundred butter menthols, and you’ve got yourself a stalwart stoner band. The selling point for the shire lads was observing their stage presence. Jumping around like schoolkids that just received an early mark coupled with power stances that’d even fool the likes of Donald Trump, the quartet were well received. The majority of songs were an anthem to everything which happened to you before age 21. That actually was appropriate as the average age of the horde of girls moshing and singing along (stacked on shoulders too I might add) was about 18. As the set went on it got a little weird as a Freudian battle between band and mosh centred around who could flail the best. If it were only the 1950s; there would have been many a Polaroid shaken that night. Maybe it’s better it wasn’t…
Caravana Sun were simply f***ing good to be honest and being a fan for some time, had never actually seen them perform live which totally added priceless layers to an already diggin’ band. With more chemistry than Heisenberg and as funky as Homer Simpson in a Rastafarian hat, the surf rockers delivered hit after hit of knockout blows that sent the crowd into wipeout. Many of the tracks played throughout the night were from the upcoming album Guerrilla Club which has a pleasingly touch more psychedelic vibe in comparison to their reggae/surf rock sound. The most memorable one was the single “Eye of the Storm” from the aforementioned album and had a Red Hot Chilli Peppers bass line which was an instant winner, the crowd exploded into rave-like dancing.
Each song seemed to have followed some secret formula that introduced the crowd to well-crafted piece of lyric which then swooned them in through the chorus and by that stage it was all said and done as everyone was a believer. A real masterpiece of the night was Ken Allers trumpeting. Allers was on keys for the whole set minus the moments he would play out his golden horn and begin mini “tranceful” solos that sent everyone into overdrive. From what we have heard; I think we can expect a lot more of those moments in Guerrilla Club.
The set truly was an experience that transcended any normal gig at Newtown Social Club. The band connected immensely with the crowd, whether it be the gratefulness from guitarist Luke Carra for the phantom packet of chips on the stage, the cheeky observation of a peculiar smoky smell from the crowd (I’m looking at you Letters to Lions) or the genuine appreciation all the members had for the opportunity to spread their music which I think translates to love for them. Bassist ‘Vox’, was a dead set inspiration for everyone as his words simultaneously touched the hearts and souls of the music lovers listening.
It was a fantastic way to spend a Thursday night and I think everyone that attended learnt a little something about performing live music and a little something about being human.