The Basics with The Boat People & Dead Letter Chorus @ The Beach Hotel, Byron Bay 1-08-09
Last time I was at this venue I could only remember the sight of a dread locked DJ spinning warped reggae vinyl. I suppose you should expect that kind of thing, especially considering this was a venue a stones throw from a beach that is mecca for surfers and backpackers around this part of Australia. But I was pleasantly surprised. There was a dance floor, all the pined furniture was at a minimum, and The Beach Hotel was making it’s best attempt to be anything but some tourist hub where people exchange emails and have strange one night stands.
I turned up just as soon Dead Letter Chorus graced the stage, who had set a nice easy tone to the beginning of the evening. The outfit has, to my ears, was more twangy than all the other occasions that I’ve seen them before. I have no idea if that was the sound or what, but it was nice enough. The inclusion of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” in their set actually fitted quite well with a lot of their originals (most of them newie’s from their album The August Magnificent) in the set, and there was a quiet appreciation from a slowly building crowd.
The Boat People where down one member but seem to be quite the party band regardless. Being quite talkative and interacting with the crowd on a level that I have not seen from many bands at many shows that I’ve been to this year, the guys powered through an entertaining bunch of songs. Withe their fun style of pop indie which got many of the crowd dancing around the joint, albeit a little drunkenly, the band had a certain panache which just made me wish I was able to go see them when they come to Sydney. “Awkward Orchid Orchard” was probably the highlight of a boisterous set.
Playing a cover of AC/DC’s “Jailbreak” would probably not be the worst crime that the three guys known as The Basics could relay onto the music lover in places where the serious listener are prevalent: The Hoey in Sydney, Melbourne’s Tote etc etc, but it could be close to it. This was The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay though, half filled of people who probably had no idea who this band was trying to interrupt their watching of the cricket. The Basics I could only fathom, thought that they’d appeal a bit more to the audience if they threw these interpretations in their set. TO me though this created a bit of a lull in what was otherwise an inspired show full of varying stuff from their very productive career. We got the 60’s inspired pop from the Get Back album and new tracks like “With This Ship” which has potential to be awesome a live number with the beautiful harmonies.