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The Smallgoods, French Rockets, Das Butcher & The Sun Blindness @ The Birmingham Hotel (Melbourne) 28/11/2008

November 29, 2008

Whenever I head down to Melbourne, it seems that I find a place that has just recently opened or renovated or taken on new management or what have you. The guy who put me up during my time here this weekend warned me of The Birmingham. With descriptions like “it’s a place for the old folks” and get ready for death stares”, I suppose it would be natural to be cautious of the place, especially since I was going alone.

But when I did arrive, it wasn’t so bad at all. It’s occured to me though that it ain’t so shit anymore – drinks were cheap, and the bar staff seemed easy going and friendly enough. The reason I was here though was to see a band whom had not played in around 10 or so months. It seemed even more of an eternity when I finally saw them tonight though in comparison.

It all goes like this – I’m an early arriver. I love seeing the supports, and when I saw that the gig started at 8, well, I thought that’d be the time when action would happen. However what I was greeted with when entering the band room was an empty space with a guy sweeping the floor. Added to this, a stage that was on half of the with of the room, which kind of just looked odd.Hmmm I thought, what should I do? Well I did what I seem to do in the past when I’ve attended a gig in Melbourne – fall asleep again on one of the oh-so-comfortable couches.

The Sun Blindness came on stage though after a bit and calmly woke me up of my slumber. This band has a lot going for, bordering on the line between jangly pop and deep swirlng psychedelica, then weaved through songs that reminded me of a place somewhere in the deep annuls of Byron (I’m not sure why – but they did). The lead singer pulsing the rhythm along while the second guitarist giving overtones of elongated guitar swishes imposed and interesting polarity on sounds.
The less said the better about the next act. Some guy who dubbed himself Das Butcher then proceeded to wail and prance around stage in total darkness covered in red paint while playing some sort of shitty drone sound from what looked like a DVD. It just seemed a elongated bad male parody of one of Yoko Ono’s horrible wailing songs. But ten times worse.

After a good bout of fresh air though, my faith in the night was redeemed by French Rockets. It looked as if the crowd were really looking forward to this band, with the set comprising of four full, mainly instrumental tracks that was accompanied by a pretty impressive light show, especially for a low key venue like The Birmingham. The outfit from out of Perth seemed very tight and outshone everyone on the bill with their powerful, huge experimentally-out-there-yet kind-of-classified-as-rock sound. One of the band members looked to have an actual mixing desk on stage as an instrument, which probably was the reason for the awesome amounts of sounds which the main guitarist and singer was producing. French Rockets, despite me not ever hearing of them before tonight, really impressed me and on the basis of what I saw tonight, I will be itching to see them in Sydney hopefully one day.

The Smallgoods provided an interesting turn for the night, amping it up, when the most of the material I have heard of their seems to be more acoustically based. They also provided an interesting sound turn for the night being a more pop orientated kind of sound as opposed to the band that preceeded them. It got me bopping a bit hearing tracks like Sadness & The City and the awesome witty banter about Dan Butcher throughout the set. A fun end to an interesting, varied night out at the most neglected venues Melbourne has.

The Smallgoods myspace

French Rockets myspace website
Das Butcher myspace
The Sun Blindness myspace

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mike brown permalink
    December 9, 2008 2:29 pm

    “Some guy who dubbed himself Das Butcher then proceeded to wail and prance around stage in total darkness covered in red paint while playing some sort of shitty drone sound from what looked like a DVD.”

    But sounded like total ass.

    French Rockets played an awesome show – love those lasers! As for the venue.. dodgy as hell.

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