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The beer garden area of St. Kilda’s Pure Pop Records was full on Saturday arvo; they closed the doors to the venue because it had reached full capacity. It wasn’t a bad start to Paper-Deer’s first ever gig!

Alexander Gow of folk-pop band Oh Mercy opened the event with a solo acoustic set. He played mostly songs from Oh Mercy’s latest album, Great Barrier Grief, including Keith StreetConfessions, On The Run and stand out Blue Lagoon. As anyone who has heard Oh Mercy would know, their songs are easy to listen to and often lullaby-esque. Gow’s soothing, soft voice, pensive expression and simple but catchy melodies rendered his performance somewhat captivating. His stage banter was slightly left-of-centre, however.

While I found him entertaining, I would understand how others might have thought he was a tad stand-offish. During one song, a guy was about to walk past the stage but then stopped suddenly when he saw that a photographer was there filming Gow, causing him to stop playing and let out a chuckle before continuing the song. After playing half of the first verse of another song, he stopped and said, “Sorry, I don’t want to play that song, but you can imagine how it would go.” He also asked the audience to remind him of the first words of Keith Street because he couldn’t remember them, and then paused at the line, “My dog’s on fire,” to tell us about how his dog had been sick recently. It wasn’t the most professional performance but in such a laid-back and intimate environment, Gow’s casualness was welcomed by many members of the audience.

Read my the rest of my review here at Paper-Deer!

Launching their album at Revolver, electro synth-pop duo Asian Envy were backed by three other musicians: a drummer, guitarist and female back-up singer. Along with keyboardist and programmer Steve Edwards, they started their set with a short instrumental, kind of like a preview into what the rest of their set would entail. After this intro, lead singer Ross Larkin strode onto the stage with a small chair in hand. He set it down and sat on it as the band launched into Taking My Time— an ambient tune with a recurring, almost-hypnotising keyboard riff – and then stood up and made theatrical gestures with his arms during the chorus. It’s safe to say that without his out-there moves, Asian Envy’s set wouldn’t have been nearly as watchable. Edwards and Larkin’s matching outfits were also a nice touch: they were both dressed in turquoise knee-length denim shorts, suit vests over white shirts and ties, and school-boy socks.

Read the rest of the review here on Paper-Deer!

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was definitely intrigued (and maybe a bit scared) as I watched the DJ play an introduction for Keith! Party. My questions were answered as 11 (give or take) people jumped onto the stage not long after, in a burst of energy, colours and crazy outfits including fluorescent eighties gear and some hospital scrubs that were destroyed by the end of the set. The venue was dressed up to match them. Streamers, balloons, confetti and party banners scattered all over the stage, you knew that Keith! Party meant business. Dance party business. They started dancing and they did not stop until their 45-minute set was over.

The DJ was in charge of the music; he did his thing at the back of the stage, spinning tracks and beats while three microphones were shared between six or seven members who sang, rapped and made noises over the badass synth lines, glitch electronic sounds and wacky percussion of the tracks off their new album, Roof Raisers. You can’t really fathom exactly how frenetic this group of wild things are by simply listening to their music; much of their appeal lies in their performance.

Read the rest of the review here on Paper-Deer!

It’s not very common nowadays to hear of bands fusing the genre of ska into their styles. Freak-folk-experimental-pop-trip-hop? Sure, why not. But ska? Now, in 2010? Well, bands like The Madness Method prove that apparently it still happens.

Read the rest of my review here on Paper-Deer.

 

Upon reading that the Thornbury Theatre’s art deco ballroom would be transformed into an “indoor picnic”, I could tell that Georgia Fields’ album launch was going to be a little different to most. The fact that Georgia’s backing band was actually more of a mini-orchestra kind of hinted towards that as well.

The dance floor of the theatre was covered with numerous tartan rugs and picnic blankets, which were adorned by plastic flowers and lanterns to create a more authentic picnic environment. There were even picnic snacks such as meringues, slices and biscuits! Add candle-lit tables, mood-lighting provided by the glow of lamps, and a low stage edged with fairy-lights and the intimate setting was complete.

As soon as Georgia bounced onto the stage, it was apparent that the setting suited her show perfectly; she exuded charm and greeted her audience as if we were old friends, telling us personal anecdotes in between songs. Her friendly, down-to-earth demeanour and amusing banter made her seem very approachable and the show even more enjoyable.

And what a show it was. The ‘mini-orchestra’, used to replicate the arrangements on the album, did not disappoint; while Georgia herself switched between acoustic guitar, ukulele and synth, there were eight other instrumentalists on stage (and a few of them were multi-instrumentalists). We were treated to a wonderful combination of vibraphone, violins, viola, cello, drums, bass, xylophone, piano, trumpet, trombone, melodica, clarinet, flute, accordion, a cordless drill used as percussion and what sounded like a sample pad made up of animal sounds.

Read the rest of the review here on Paper-Deer.

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