What better thing to do on a rainy Sunday evening than to head to the Lansdowne Hotel for some rock filled Palooza! With a plethora of bands and DJs on offer on two stages throughout the day there was something for everybody.
I checked out some of the evenings offerings with Grinding Eyes, Clowns, Straight Arrows, Bec Sandridge and the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.
This Sydney local band appeared out of a haze of swirly psychedelic projections, smoke and incense and hit the crowd with a wall of guitar laden, reverb heavy, garage psych rock.
This was more than just a standard psych rock show though. Yes there was a hypnotic repetitive droning riff that made the eyes roll in your head, but there was also a little more discordant melody and a heavy, almost grungy undertone, set off by the guitarist flailing around the stage like a possessed demon wielding his guitar as a weapon.
As the bands set progressed a small circle of mosh began to form in a corner of the dance floor like a whirling dervish being conjured up by the growing swirly intensity of the music, fog and strobing lights.
And then it just stopped, leaving us all to think…did that really happen?
From the first chord, Clowns brought their loud and brash punk rock up from Melbourne and back on to the Lansdowne stage. As punters scrambled for ear protection, the full frontal, full tilt assault was unrelenting and turned the dance floor alive into a heaving sweaty pit of bodies projecting themselves around like a pinball game on multi-ball.
From start to finish the set was energy packed, with guitars driving like a road train through the outback and screaming vocals that would challenge any sound engineer. The band’s sound combines early Seattle days with a healthy dose of Detroit, but much more raw and all moshed up into what is definitely their own unique sound.
Best played LOUD.
A quick trip to the downstairs stage where the Straight Arrows were bringing back the mod to the Lansdowne. They immediately had the dance floor heaving like a sixties stomp with their infectious, head shake inducing, garage beat.
The potentially poppy tunes were all given that raw edge treatment with an overdriven and spacey sound guitar driven along by a tribal rhythm section that the band has been culturing for so long now. That, combined with their cheeky irreverence to the rules of performance, got them looking like they are all just there to have a bit of fun and everyone just wants to join in.
Bec Sandridge strutted onto the stage with a presence that said look at me…and everyone did. Accompanied just by drums today, her guitar and vocals were by no means sparse. Sporting a sound that mixed up a bit of 80s post punk atmosphere with a bunch of expertly used guitar effects, she can make a little sound like a lot.
The songs swayed from pop numbers to melodic stories, all delivered with an underlying menace that mesmerises and pulls you in, making you feel part of the performance. The low key performance delivered a substance and a finely tuned show where even the stops and starts seemed to feel natural. By the end of the set the whole crowd was dancing around the floor and yelling for more.
The live performance gave an energy and a very different sound experience to her music that you just cant get from her recorded collection. Definitely a show to catch live when you get the opportunity.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Back upstairs to be confronted by a haze of smoke hiding the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. A hairy four piece from Perth, this is a band that defies you to pigeonhole it. Are they psychedelic?…yes…..but.
I could say that they are a mix of Beatles meet Frank Zappa and Jimmy Page and then they all go and visit Pink Floyd; but, that’s too simple. Its useless to compare these guys to anything.
All four are talented musicians, obviously comfortable with their instruments and know how to play them in many different directions, often all at the same time. To describe this gig its probably better to throw a bunch of hyperbole and sensations in a bag, then just pluck them out randomly. Today I choose chaos, maelstrom, tantric, hectic, fusion.
From the start of the show, the whole of the upstairs bar in the Lansdowne was one fluid mass of humanity, like a tempest in a cauldron. There were bodies launching in every direction, the ceiling was getting covered in footprints from the constant progression of crowd surfers, people were hanging from the light rails; and whirlpools and eddies of people surged across the floor like an ocean.
At the end of the show, it was as if we had been released from an experiment & I think a little bit mind altered……or maybe just Palooza’d.
Did I find that brown note tonight? Maybe check the Lansdowne band room ceiling.
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