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Spring Tones @ Roxanne Parlour 26-09-09

September 29, 2009


Another seasonal indoor festival curated by the fantastic label Mistletone? Hell yeah. The dimly lit and strangely red Roxanne Parlour, was filled with sweaty Melbournites from all over. They had the choice between three stages (I only visited two though) with a variety of Australia’s and the world’s most interesting acts. I mostly stuck to local bands though, not on purpose, I guess sometimes things just work out that way. Aussie pride you know?

Opening the night on the smaller Front Stage was local trio, Woollen Kits. The lads played a set of loud fuzzy pop songs that was heaps of fun and engaging. Clearly happy to be there, they were all smiles even when their kick pedal broke, only for it to be fixed in time for the loud, catchy closing track “Teenage Love”. Moving over to the Back Stage where there were milk crates, drums and a plethora of pedals and equipment scattered about. This was Rat vs Possum. Experimental but filled with great hooks making use of loops and teamwork-percussion, the three vocalists spilled some great harmonies giving their already layered and danceable soundscape some great pop moments.

Caught a little bit of Sydney’s Songs but their slow burning pop songs failed to engage. New Jersey’s Ducktails was in the other room playing his unique blend of electronic pop and psychedelia. A very short but mesmerising 20 minutes from him. Aleks and the Ramps followed with their glitzy costumes and colourful complex pop songs, unfortunately they were banjo-less which saddened me, but the guys and girl still played an energetic and wacky set (they have a choreographed dance they do). “Antique Limb” is still one of the year’s best pop songs.

I then saw most of New Zealand’s Bachelorette’s set. Flanked by two CRT monitors along with a visual backdrop playing a variety of retro computer visuals. Her half folksy, half electronic, pop songs were played with a quiet ease and calmness while she ditched the full bodied sound to play with just an acoustic guitar for the tail end of the set. A nice break from all those electric guitars.

UV Race2
UV Race is a name that has been kicking around Melbourne for a while now and they were the climax of Spring Tones. A-tonal guitar riffs, dirty saxophone and a wild front man shouting slurred vocals all delivered with a punk energy that is missing from so many modern bands. The punters up the front were having the most fun of night while spilling beers all over the place and singing along with the fantastic Black Flag cover that closed their set.

Lastly I watched most of Melbourne’s St Helens’ set but after the chaos that preceded them, they felt a little flat. Excellent darkly dramatic guitar songs but the band were too laconic, and the sound too quiet. Still one of the premier bands in this city, but their laid back style can’t suit every gig I suppose. Fantastic night all round though, and St Helens were a relaxed way to end my night.

Mistletone Website

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