AU ABROAD

Guineafowl + Elisha Bones + Glass Towers + Pete Akhurst - ANU Bar (12.11.11)

Guineafowl

Even though we arrived at the ANU Bar right after doors opened, my friend and I expected more punters for a Saturday night. Luckily numbers picked up over the course of the night, culminating in a predictably stellar performance from Guineafowl. The rest of Canberra didn't know what they were missing.

Pete Akhurst

The night began with a last minute addition to the support slots - Pete Akhurst. His solo acoustic set ran for 20 minutes, but it was an enjoyable beginning to the night. Filled with emotive lyrics, his harmonica and guitar playing provided a contrast for the full-band material to come. He proved to be one of those players who can tell exactly when to bring everything back, and exactly when to launch forward, hammering those chords. I can imagine trying to entertain a small crowd in a large room can often be that much harder, but Akhurst did a great job of involving those who watched.

Glass Towers

Glass Towers hit the stage soon after, and their exuberant indie-pop instantly took off. Benjamin Hannam's vocals didn't come across strongly enough for my liking, and at times seemed to fall a little flat. That aside, as a unit they were the perfect support for Guineafowl, with bright melodies filling every inch of space in the room. Drummer Daniel Muszynski not only held the songs together with intriguing beats, but played with eye-catching vigour and energy.

Elisha Bones

The last support for the night were Elisha Bones, who performed a mixture of intricate and pounding, all-out rock. Michael Bones' voice was astounding, echoing off the walls with the kind of clarity and range you don't normally associate with support acts. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Although the majority of the focus seemed to be on Bones, both as a result of the lighting and his stage presence, as a whole Elisha Bones sounded technically tight and refined. It'll be interesting to see just how far these guys go.

Guineafowl

Finally, Guineafowl took to the stage, and they did not disappoint.

Singles like "Botanist" and "In Our Circles" sounded even larger and more grandiose than when I last saw them - which is something older fans may be negatively vocal about. You know, all that stuff about betraying the bedroom musician aesthetic in favour of majestic and polished indie-pop? Which is unfortunate for those people, because the general consensus from the crowd last night was that Guineafowl's huge sound just works. Latest single "The Lie Is" shows this more than anything. There's really nothing more to it.

The new tracks that they debuted were all pop perfection, with some definite hand-clapping moments. As a young band, Guineafowl are really refining what they do to the point of it being almost unbelievably good - a band like this, with only one EP under their belt?! It's no surprise they were picked up by a label over in America recently.

Despite seeming a little disappointed at the turnout, Sam Yeldham and co. put on an excellent show for everyone who turned out - Sam especially was leaping around the stage and throwing himself right into it. It was clear they appreciated those of us who did turn out, and weren't going to let us down one bit.

As amazing as "Botanist" is, Guineafowl really have gone from strength to strength over the past year. They've progressed, focused, worked hard, and it shows. Brace yourself, because 2012 is going to be the year of the Guineafowl.