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New Year Eve @ The Espy (Melbourne) 31/12 /08 – 01/01/09

February 6, 2009

The last few years I have always noticed the fine New Years line up of band the Espy has hosts, though this year I was FINALLY old enough to attend, and watch a line up no less stellar than years before! On entering the Esplanade hotel, with the setting sun shines across St Kilda beach straight into the front bar, call me a romantic, but I could tell it was going to be an awesome night!
First up in the evening was Lisa Mitchell (yes, of Australian Idol fame) and her band playing her light hearted acoustic pop songs. Her simple songs and her soft and folky voice permeated through the room, drawing people’s attention and warmed the crowd up for the bands ahead.
When Lisa’s set was finished, it was Tame Impala’s turn to grace the stage, and wow everyone with their psychedelic brand of pop music.

The songs of their self title debut came to life, the guitar was sharp but windy, and the drums loud and booming. Though their music is reminiscent of the 70’s, they manage to create this contemporary appeal running throughout it all.
I then moved down into the Basement, to catch some of Melbourne’s Oh Mercy. Oh Mercy’s songs are gentle, but in the confines of the basement, they were loud but still carried that placid and tender temperance. This band has an appeal that is weathered and beyond their years, a maturity is clearly present in their tunes, and it was great to hear them live again.
I then hung around a bit to catch the beginning of Jarvis Jay’s set, a local band I have heard a lot about, and yet never managed to catch. With a psychedelic mix of organ and guitar and intense punk rock undertones, this band truly blew me away, they’re stage presence holding a lot of power and bravado.
Moving onto the Gershwin Room, I decided to catch a bit of Children Collide’s set, though many others had the same idea, as the room was PACKED! Despite this band being a favourite of mine, I could only stand a couple of songs by this hectic punk trio before I had to get out of there, and back down to the Basement to see another Melbourne band, pop quartet Major Major. This band is like a giant burst of positive energy! Their catchy pop rock anthems have everyone dancing and smiling, the ideal band for the countdown!!!

From Major Major, it was back to the Gershwin Room for Little Red! The party continued as Little Red made the whole room dance to their get-up-and-go brand of 60’s rock and roll. They took the opportunity to road-test a few new songs, maybe a new LP in the New Year?
In order to get a good spot for Mess Hall in the Front bar, we left before Little Red’s set ended, but caught the last couple song of old-hats Spiderbait. They were as crazy and exuberant, just as I had expected them to be! As I entered the room, their famous cover of ‘Black Betty’ began, setting the room completely off!

Closing the night was Sydney duo, the Mess Hall with their loud garage rock songs, consisting of only one guitar and drums. Despite their two-piece set up, this band know how to make people turn and listen, their songs dirty and ruckus, with dark and sinister themes flowing throughout, though with an ingenious pop quality to get the whole of the front bar dancing!

(Photos by Calvin Cropley!)

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