Thursday, 26 November 2009

Last Dinosaurs, The Boat People, Red Riders @ The Globe

Visiting the Globe Theatre in Fortitude Valley during the Brisbane summer is much like a trip to the jungles of Southeast Asia.

The heat can be intense. My vision is swimming as people in top hats frolic in the lobby. Much like many other Brisbane venues, the Globe is not exactly the most comfortable place to be once the mercury hits the high twenties. However, several months of university-imposed isolation from the live music arena gives me the fortitude to ignore the ill comforts of this sweat pit. I’m at the Globe to check out Last Dinosaurs, The Boat People and Red Riders.

Last Dinosaurs are anything but relics from the cretaceous period, but rather a young foursome who play ever-so-nice indie pop rock. A friend of mine actually told me about these guys about a year ago and I’ve always been keen to see what they were like sur l'├ętape. I had been itching to see if their live show matched the quality of the songs available to listen to via their ArseSpace page.

My co-pilot JM Donellan can taste traces of Futureheads within the reverbed punctuated indie pop songs. I delineate flavours of surf rock. Regardless of genealogy, which seems so important in modern day contemporary music for some reason, the show is very solid. Upcoming single ‘As Far As You’re concerned’ appears early in the set. While the band briefly falters during ‘Honolulu’, the set is otherwise very solid. A promising band who will no doubt receive much more pundit attention in the coming years.

There is a fairly quick turnaround, and Brisbane stalwarts The Boat People enter stage right brandishing instruments and playing many songs from their latest record “Chandeliers”. I haven’t heard this particularly record, but going on the strength of what is performed tonight, I can only assume that it is fairly good. ‘Born in the 80s’ and ‘Panic’ are played with much gusto. Keyboard dude Robin announces the imminent performance of new song ‘Echo Stick Guitars’, a song they haven’t played much live allegedly but comes off sounding smooth as sugar. Guitarist Charles, whom I got some lessons off a few years back, is fully engrossed in the performance, intent on hitting all the correct notes. Such technical proficiency is a hallmark of the Boat People, a band obvious well used to live performance.

Not much of “yesyesyesyesyes” is evident in tonight’s set with only ‘Unsettle My Heart’ managing to make the cut. It is an enjoyable performance but once again I’m haunted by something that I’ve always felt about the Boaties. Their songs are good, some very good, but do not quite reach the heights of other indie pop bands like, say, the Shins. I know, a lofty comparison, but I guess I really want them to be that good. I can’t really put my finger on the exact fashion in which they are deficient. Still, I must admit, they are consistently better than many of their contemporaries.

The cowds of barely post-pubescent girls should have told me something about Sydney band Red Riders. I had never heard any of their music apart from their great ‘Ordinary’, the strength of which has me attending the gig tonight in anticipation that other gems might lurk in the coiled springs of their instrument’s pickups. Not that “barely legal teens” don’t have any taste in music, many do, but often it seems their tastes do not converge with my own.

Three songs in and I am convinced they are an Expatriate cover band. Perhaps a trifle harsh, but I just felt that their set choice might not have been well thought out – many of the songs sounded so similar that I often found myself glancing towards the exist. Not a very good sign. ‘Ordinary’ appears near the end and somewhat changes the dynamics of the set, mostly optimistically. However, in the end I’m left feeling disappointed.

Truth is, I wanted to like them, they all seemed like such affable guys who genuinely liked being on stage, but perhaps this was just a bum night.

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