HAELOS – Howler Bar, Melbourne. 4th January 2017

jamesThriving from an outstanding performance at this years Falls Festival, London’s unapologetic 90s influenced melancholic electro music makers, HAELOS play to an unexpected ‘up-for it crowd’ at Melbourne’s Howler bar. 

While taking the wrong route to Brunswick (home of Howler) and ending up in a slight panicked state after realising I was actually on my way to Geelong (for those unfamiliar, it’s completely the wrong direction) I had time to ponder, yet again, the state of Melbourne’s live music scene.  

 With so much support these days for Australian bands, the young music lovers amongst us, hold tight a commitment and passion for all things Australian music. It’s a great thing don’t get me wrong. The international music scene however is finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate the ears of these Aussie ears, many of us conforming to only listening to that music that is generally immediately accessible to us and fed to us via certain commercial radio stations, lets not get started on the pros and cons of Triple J.  So with this messed up equation of uncertainty in my head and with my unwavering support for London artists, I made way through the well-designed beer garden of Howler bar, to be greeted by a well-filled crowd of mixed variety HAELOS supporters. 

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 Placed against a very simple black curtain backdrop, Arthur Delaney, Dom Goldsmith and Lotti Benardout presented themselves with an additional 3 live band members.  HAELOS’s debut album ‘Full Circle’ is meticulously produced, the perfectly dueled harmonised vocal echoes and saw through classic dance beats and samples.  Healos’ live is yet a further developed magical experience, the crowds attention drawn much of the time to their drummer  who had most of us transfixed to such brilliantly placed rhythmic ability.  Just one of the many treats offered in tonight’s uplifting performance.

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 Another of these treats, was delivered early on in their set, when the band covered  fellow Londoners The Beloved’s ‘Sun Rising’ released in 1989, a cover probably largely missed by many of tonights audience, it had me shuffling my memory banks to a time when The Beloved were an important contributor to the British dance/house scene and my musical framework.  The influence such bands play may well have played in HAELOS’ sound is evident but still completely subtle.

 With one album to hand, every other song delivered tonight was met with complete recognition and appreciation, the live renditions of their studio-produced heavy album played out as an entirely unique experience, quite unexpected but without losing that energy and soaring heights that you experience from ‘Full Circle’ when listened to through headphones.  

Lotti and Arthurs duets are pitch perfect and offered with confidence and swagger, something that many Australian upcoming bands should really take note of.  The band were confident and lost in their own music but equally engaged with the audience in between each track.  

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‘Separate Lives’, ‘Pray’ and ‘Earth Not Above’ sound rich and full while the more subdue songs Alone and Cloud Nine dig deep into our heart-strings just like they do on the album.HAELOS return for a quick encore, playing ‘Oracle’, a sublime burst of energy, with circling samples and peaking drum rhythms that moves to a kaleidoscope crescendo of swirling soundscape and feelings of emotional electronic adventures.

It makes me question again and again, why bands like HAELOS do not have more fans in Australia with all that they can offer.  It also makes me realise why exactly I started The Wandering Lamb in the first place, to do our bit in seeking out and sharing music that ‘you’ really should be listening too.

Photography by Liam Davidson.

 

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