REVIEW: Alpine, Clubfeet, Georgi Kay @ The Patch.

High off the success of their debut album A is for Alpine, six-piece Melbourne indie-pop ensemble Alpine entranced an enthusiastic and expectant crowd at the Patch on Wednesday night. With their distinctive fusion of breathy vocals, catchy melodies and knee-jerking energy, Alpine cemented their place as inventive and innovative newcomers at the forefront of the Australian music scene.

Opening crooner Georgi Kay greeted a thriving Patch with relaxed, mellow and minor tunes. With a voice that mixes a little bit of Angus and Julia Stone with a little bit of Sarah Blasko, Kay has harnessed an unusually strong and defined voice for someone of only 18 years. Despite her reserved stage presence, Kay’s commanding sound and quirky lyrics generated an affectionate we’re-all-friends-here vibe among the crowd that continued for the remainder of the night.

Next up, electro-pop (or “blow wave”) five-piece Clubfeet stole the stage with light guitar riffs, synth-dominated loops and a frequently featured tambourine. As a few casual boppers took to the floor, the boys from Melbourne harmonised through charismatic dance songs, often laced with an underlying ’80s sound. After sharing a drink with a generous young lass in the front row, lead singer Sebastian Cohen shared a few dance moves of his own to Teenage Suicide (Don’t do it) and set closer Last words; providing entertainment to all the late-comers who had just strolled in.

Finally, the lights dimmed and the much anticipated set of Alpine opened with trance-like melodies and husky vocals. Decorated in glittery eye make-up that reflected the cosmic undertones of their voices, front-women Lou James and Phoebe Baker descended with an energetic stage presence that showcased flawless pitch, while Ryan, Tim, Christian and Phil plucked out melodic riffs and thumped out inventive beats.

Filled with impeccably-timed syncopation and dynamics, the band flew through a mix of EP favourites such as Heartlove, while also introducing newbies Seeing Red and Hands.  The Patch was promptly transformed into a gathering of swaying individuals that gave the impression of floating, but in the middle of crowded, sweaty dance-floor sort of way.

As a few ill-timed jivers enthusiastically raved through the crowd, some spirit fingers made an appearance on stage as James declared “Let’s get noisy, in a nice way.”

And that is precisely what we did. In a perfectly well-behaved manner, the audience hummed and warbled out the opening lines of Gasoline while the two female leads encouraged some dramatic head-bopping. It’s safe to say that the song sounds even better live than it does on CD- an impressive feat- although it remains unclear as to whether this is because of the bands quirky onstage character, or just a result of their outstanding musical talent.

(As a side note, for all current residents of the Gong, it seems that Lou, in particular, is a big fan of our cities name, joyously exclaiming: “I love the name Wollongong. Woooooollongong.  I’m going to call my kid Wollongong.” Fact.)

Finishing on Villages, with some chronic hand-clapping and a few sensual dancers making their way towards the bar, it was evident that Alpine had come and conquered, no doubt winning over all ears in the venue (but perhaps not those of the surrounding sites, who issued a few cheeky noise complaints).

For further tour information, get click-happy right here:  http://www.facebook.com/alpineband/app_308540029359

REVIEW: The Cairos + The Preachers + Rockets @ The Patch

Following the release of their six-track EP Colours Like Features, pop-indie four-piece The Cairos drew an intimate gathering of locals to The Patch on Wednesday night. Foregoing the dismal State of Origin that flickered on a TV near the bar, the Brisbane boys braved the NSW territory and joined their supporting acts on the first leg of their headlining launch tour.

After awkwardly greeting a rather cosy audience, Sydney band Rockets quickly altered the monotonous atmosphere with full, catchy and head-bopping guitar riffs. With a voice similar to The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, lead singer and guitarist Credo Jones gave an energetic performance, sporting a denim-on-denim ensemble that gave the impression that he’d just stepped out of the ’80s. Paired with his outrageously enthusiastic hair-swinging that almost knocked out his fellow guitarist, the band provided an entertaining opening and are definitely worth seeing live.

Due to a change in schedule, The Cairos clambered up on stage as supporting act The Preachers were missing half their band. Despite a few glitches, including a mischievous run-away foldback, the band performed with an enthusiasm that outdid the confines of the small venue.

Opening with Self Control, they jumped between a mix of old, new, upbeat and gentler tracks, proving that their live performance far surpasses the musical talent already evident on their EP. The youthful and lively stage presence was infectious; impossible to sit through without tapping a toe and singing along.

Continuing with new tracks Yeah No and pop anthem Shame, lead singer Alistar Richardson captivated the audience with flawless vocals that complimented the plucky guitars and walking bass line. Finishing on favourite We All Buy Stars, the Brisbane boys made it clear that they have much more in store for the Australian music scene.

By this time, The Preachers had retrieved all band members and took to the stage, crooning in a sultry manner that can only be described as old-school-slash-blues-slash-rock-and-roll. Featuring another denim-on-denim outfit, The Preachers danced, bopped and hopped in a way that left one feeling as though you were witnessing some sort of religious cult. Pairing tight guitar riffs with impressive and powerful harmonies, the band finished the night on a playful note, peering out into the remaining audience and asking “Can we go now?”

Catch The Cairos at more upcoming shows: http://www.songkick.com/artists/864093-cairos

REVIEW: Bleeding Knees Club, Dune Rats, Sures @ The Patch

(See our photo gallery from the show here)

Creating lots of noise since the release of their 2010 Virginity EP, Bleeding Knees Club are becoming somewhat of an iconic Australian dude tribute to 50s surf rock. With the recent release of their debut LP, Nothing to Do, a collection of individuals with unwashed hair, head-bopping tendencies and hipster clothes filled the Patch on Saturday night to energetically bounce to the upbeat anthems produced by the Gold Coast boys.

First up was Sydney band Sures, who charmed the initial early scragglers with their bubbly guitar riffs, quirky harmonies and an 80’s fluro windbreaker sported by the guitarist. A few die-hard fans (namely the next band, Dune Rats) graced the dance floor to pump out some interpretive break dancing (which looked a lot more like two grown males giggling and rolling around on the floor), while Sures did some serious foot-tapping on stage. Despite a few technical issues at the start of the set, the band powered on and this reviewer was converted by the ending notes of setcloser Stars.

Brisbane boys Dune Rats were next on stage, demanding full attention with energetic drum patterns and dynamic vocals. While the sound mixing left a little to be desired, their catchy lo-fi surf-pop tunes spoke for themselves. Featuring the drummer from The Cairos and the ex-bassist from The Vines, the boys themselves were charismatic and humorous performers, engaging with the crowd and dancing as enthusiastically as the two drunk females that had occupied the right corner near the stage. Hazy guitar lines, high-energy drumming and throbbing bass featured prominently; fans of The Drums, and The Vaccines should keep an eye out for this trio.

Finally, Bleeding Knees Club launched their anticipated set of upbeat, surf rock anthems. Very quickly, the boys from the Gold Coast transformed the Patch into a stage-diving, crowd-surfing extravaganza, with amateurs taking over the microphone while front man Alex Wall decided to dangle, monkey-like, from the ceiling.

The floor became a pit of shuffling girls and sweating males during Nothing to Do, with favourites Teenage Girls (“This song’s about being a paedophile”), Beach Slut, and raucous set closer Bad Guys turning the venue into a sea of flying limbs and dancing bodies.

For a relatively new band, BKC successfully managed to ensure that every member of the audience was tapping a foot or drumming their fingers before the set wrapped to a close. The boys have managed to write a winning combination of lyrically simple and melodically catchy songs, with sarcastic and relatable messages about girls, boys and “having sex with a bitch.”

Dune Rats returned to the stage to join with BKC for a final encore, which involved a lot of shouting, a lot of guitar and a little bit of upside-down piggy-backing. Overall, the bands performance left a very exhausted yet satisfied audience exiting the Patch, proving that there’s a lot more to come from these Gold Coast boys.

REVIEW: Faye Blais, Nicole Brophy, Kay Proudlove @ Dicey Riley’s

Thursday night saw a smattering of locals fill Dicey Riley’s to engage in what became an accidental ‘Girls night in’, with locals Kay Proudlove and Nicole Brophy supporting Canadian guest Faye Blais.

Opening the night with a quirky song about love (encouraging the crowd to “…to pull your lover close, or pull someone close to be your lover”), Proudlove set the tone for the night with a demanding stage presence and outstanding vocals. Playing a range of songs from her upcoming EP, the Illawarra local captivated the audience with her strong vocals, catchy tunes and confident exterior appealing to the chilled atmosphere.

Next was Nicole Brophy, bringing with her a loyal legion of fans who, to their credit, managed to populate half of the venue. Topped off with the inclusion of a kazoo that accidentally slipped down her top, Brophy (previously of South Coast rock band Dirty Lucy) permeated a self-described “hard and heavy straight up” style that commanded our attention and gave edgier undertones to the performance. Brophy left the stage with promises of writing “newer and happier music” in the future, before giving a haughty laugh and adding “not.”

Finally Canadian Faye Blais strolled on stage and introduced herself to a solid audience, in all her dreadlocked glory. While her set was incredibly relaxed (‘Sleepy Hollow’ may well have been describing the overall atmosphere of Dicey’s), Blais’ hauntingly beautiful voice filled every corner of the venue, while also receiving whistles and cheers from the friendly drunks that had occupied the back corner of the bar.

Starting the set with a few old favourites (‘Pieces’, ‘Canvas’ and ‘When She Was’), Blais invited Jungal’s Leisha Jungalwalla up to perform a collection of newer pieces (‘Winter’, ‘The Way I Love You’) that have just been recorded for her upcoming album ‘On the Bright Side’. The evening ended with a joyous sing-a-long of Janis Joplin’s ‘Take Another Little Piece of My Heart’ with the remaining audience, clapping and hooting along whole-heartedly.

After witnessing the transformation of Dicey Riley’s from a quiet and reserved gathering of quirky music lovers into a happy family sing-a-long, this
reviewer certainly intends to keep an eye peeled for what the Canadian dreadlocked crooner comes up with next.

By Alyce Wearne

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