Sometimes it’s nice to sit down at gigs. Standing really can be overrated... especially when comfy couches are involved. Last time I was at Jive it was a sold out madhouse, tonight the vibe was a lot more ‘glass of wine’ than ‘jager-bomb’ and so it started with a crowd of about twenty mainly made up of band members, family, friends and devotees.
Sparkspitter started off nice and experimental with two band members sitting down, Rohan with the lapsteel and their sound immediately makes me think of Battles and Bath except more whimsical, musically pure and not so sample clunky - what a great describing word. If you go on their bandcamp they are self-proclaimed ‘experimental-indie-minimalist-krautrock-postrock’ but that is as best you can try to categorise them and fit them into a box because those “tags” don’t really do it.
This is 3am, stoner basement, Utopian music, the kind of which you could sit there staring at the walls listening to every sound or lie back and let the music overcome you. All fifty people in the room were mesmerised as each song started off intrinsically, as one person would start with their part then another would come in, in what can only be described as layers, musical layers where science, art and music meet. Till the sound got more hypnotic, louder with such intensity, building and building until you could just burst wanting to climax already. Six to eight minutes long, with nearly no vocals and all three of them onstage eyes closed, in there cocoon of rapture and dysfunctional synchronicity. It was greatly intoxicating and there were a good number of people making a beehive for the stage after their set for a Sparkspitters CD.
Watching Brisbane band Founds set up it was interesting to see how they were going to fit all seven people; guitar, violin, bass, acoustic, keyboard, drums, synth, two tambourines and a sporadic trumpeter onstage, but they did. Founds set was filled with strikingly powerful songs including “Avalanches” and “Holograms”, such was the commanding boom of joyful, harmonious music that came from that stage that it smacked you in the face and kept everyone back about four to five feet. The two vocalists Kirstie and Elle-Louise’ harmonies are flawless and vocal range is perfection, they give the grace while the boys gave the momentum. They remind me musically of a mixture of Florence, Mumford and the Von Trapp family to put it ignorantly, but they give off an amazing vibe onstage the bassist thrashing his hair around, the violinist frenetically playing alongside, a grand motley crew that gel so incredibly well together.
Last but not least I got my butt off the couch not only because I wanted to sway and dance to the ethereal, psychedelic loveliness of Fire Santa Rosa Fire but also because the huge rush of fans to the stage had completely blocked my view. This was the fourth time that I have seen Fire Santa Rosa Fire and each time I fall more and more in love with the band. Ever friendly, ever humble and such a fantastic sound, they are one of my favourite Adelaide bands. Singer Caitlin mentions she had no voice two hours prior to the gig but her vocals are still amazingly as top notch as ever breezing through the setlist singing “Little Cowboys, Bad Hombres” which has great lyrics with Caitlin and Dave weaving a tale on vocals. “Panther Shrine” has one of the best hypnotic guitar plays with Metric-style vocals.
Dave partook in some entertaining crowd banter trying to speak over the crowd jokingly telling everyone ‘would you pipe down dammit I’m trying to tell you a story.’ I also may have jumped, clapping my hands like an excited Japanese tourist and squealed for joy when they played my all-time favourite song “War Coward” which - poo for you - they don’t play live that much anymore. It has a head swaying, cobra-dancing, stoner-grooving and very intense almost sexual Led Zeppelin-esque guitar jolt throughout.
As well as “Phantom of Lakes” with its vocoder distortion, catchy moans, funky bass and guitar, a song that starts off so beautifully and grows in intensity and emotion. It was cool watching them play to a home crowd in a relaxed, chilled out and appreciative atmosphere. There was this one guy at the front, who knew the lyrics to all the songs including the Kate Bush cover they did, drunk as a skunk eyes closed, finger wiggling, smiling, singing and bopping erratically but having the time of his life. Will he remember it tomorrow? Only that it was a great way to spend a Saturday night, that’s for sure.