Following an April performance at Northcote Social Club when TWL were entertained but this adorable Melbourne duo, tonight at Howler marked the official launch of the band’s debut album ‘Stadium Cake’, some seven years in the making. The equally excellent The Ocean Party offered their support along with the never disappointing The Grand Magoozi, for what would be a night celebrating all the nice things about local gigs and ‘love thy fellow band members.’
There was a very obvious feeling and mood of love in the band room, Oh Pep! have earned a loyal and respectful following, with their launch of their long-awaited debut album, audience members seemed restless with anticipation for the gig. Making our appearance just before The Ocean Party, and having seen the band play numerous times already, well, we knew exactly what to expect. The young Melbourne pop makers never fail on live performance, with a large back catalogue to draw upon, the band play every set with minimal fuss, effort and maximum joy. This evening the lads seemed extra relax and cheerful, front man Lachlan Denton exchanging many smiles with his band mates but holding a distant stare into the night during lead vocals.
Having spent the last few weeks indulging in 80s pop music from The Go-Betweens, The Triffids, Orange Juice, XTC and the like, it became apparent the similarities we could here in the music The Ocean Party craft, delicately played and cleverly crafted pop songs. Evidently the band were not born during this excellent time in new pop music, their set tonight almost felt nostalgic and took their music to a whole new level. It all suddenly clicked, we finally understood just how underrated this Melbourne band really was. During previous gigs, there were some moments of inconsistency and lack of fluidity, much of it induced by the constant vocal change and the diversity of their style, however tonight, drawing comparisons realigned the band’s appeal and charm. This was far from a band thing, from a band who five or so albums, still have so much more to offer.
On the opposite side of the musical spectrum, is Oh Pep!, a band who have toured the world twice over (a bigger following abroad then in Australia) and after 7 years in the making, finally celebrate their debut album, an album recorded in Halifax, Canada. With a predominantly older crowd for support, all wintry dressed with head wear and scarves (it wasn’t that cold), the delightful duo entered stage right with their band following behind.
The rapturous applause clearly excited the girls who made us aware that tonight was a very special night for them, not only for their official launch of ‘Stadium Cake’ but playing it to their adoring home crowd. Oh Pep! have an adoring fan base, many of them mouthing the words to every song and helping bring a sense of family and community.
Following a string of songs from their debut and the songs that the crowd adore, including Tea, Milk & Honey, Bushwick, War Song and Doctor Doctor that each draw comparisons to Laura Marling, First Aid Kit and Turin Brakes all in one happy melting pot, the band proudly wave us goodbye before setting back to the stage for a quick encore.
Oh Pep! are proudly Melbourne but perhaps create music that is far beyond the playing field where Australian music is now, but with a phenomenal “world” tour to embark in, it is kind of nice knowing that the duo will proudly wave a Melbourne flag from Cincinnati, Kansas City, Vancouver, Calgary, Bristol, Manchester, Limerick and Dublin. That makes us proud, congratulations Oh Pep!.