Yours & Owls, Wollongong
July 29th, 2012
Supports: Totally Unicorn, City of Ships, Nuclear Summer
Reviewed by Rod Sedgwick
As I descended on Wollongong for a weighty night of post-metal, I was astounded to discover how incredibly small this unfamiliar venue actually was, and as I later talked to a couple of members of City of Ships, I was assured that it was not the smallest venue they had ever performed. In fact it is actually quite a common room size in the US from which they hail.
Nuclear Summer delivered an impressive set, considering the intimacy of the room. Vocalist Lochlan Watt was quite the presence as a lead man, summoning bursts of ambience with his nearby synth as he bellowed over impressive outings such as ‘Oceanic References’ and ‘See You in Hell’. The almost crawlspace-like venue surprisingly held its own as far as acoustics were concerned, each instrument defined enough to not get lost in the wall of sound.
US band City of Ships are a three-piece that immediately impressed with no shortage of musicality in their six song set. Drummer Joseph Wright was like a man possessed, at one point cradling the snare between his knees as it fell off the stand. A mixture of cuts from their two releases were impressive enough for this reviewer to hit the merch stand and put his money where his mouth was. The ominous ‘Wraiths in Flight’ and ‘Spring Tiger’ from their debut album were particular standouts.
The reputation of local band Totally Unicorn had proceeded itself, yet nothing could prepare me for the force of nature that is front-man Drew. Literally slipping, sliding and bear-hugging through the anxiously amused punters in a multi-coloured ‘Morph Suit’ and a Sydney Swans beanie, burping between songs and apologizing for the ‘Garlic sausage I had for breakky’. As the band belted through their breed of schizophrenic, psychedelic hardcore, they were tight as hell despite the maelstrom Drew created as he slid down banisters and staircases while bellowing ‘You didn’t think a fat man could do that did you?’ He climbed and perched on a ledge, DEP style, whilst dressing down to his briefs, which had some trouble containing his frank and beans. Belly laughs were the order of the day as they closed with ‘Happy Birthday from the Overpass’ leaving Rosetta to follow in their wake.
Rosetta are a band that command your attention, embracing technology with ambience and effects controlled via an iPad. Frontman Mike Armine preached his words addressing members of the crowd Jello Biafra-style, adding a weight to the proceedings, while still inspired to yell out for a ‘free hot chocolate’ post gig. The other band members seemed locked into their groove as they belted out key cuts from their albums Wake/Lift and A Determinism of Morality. One punter mentioned to me afterward that he was quite excited to see them play ‘TMA-3’ from a split EP they had done with Junius.
As the crowd spilled out into the cold night air, it was easy to dream of being back in the warm, cozy and intimate space of Yours & Owls, re-experiencing these four impressive bands all over again.