It’s not often I feel compelled to write a review about a Friday night out in Sydney. Then it’s not every night you come across a band like The Messengers. The good-time blues pop band are a literal riot! It’s just a shame they’re from Melbourne because that means we only get to see them rarely. Firstly the other bands.
Arriving after Avaine’s set, we entered as girl/guy four-piece The Make Up flexed their pop-grunge muscle. Their California rock sound (think Silversun Pickups) provided a chance to grab a drink, nod our heads agreeably and enjoy a few melodic guitar solos. As a nice break from the glum faces, the photographer/band-friend stepped in on lead guitar for a decent cover of ACDC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”.
Heading the bill were Meza. I don’t intend any disservice to the extremely talented prog-pop three piece by breezing past them because they were very good. Clearly the draw card for the night with the room packed, the act is really a showcase for guitarist and vocalist Eman Younan’s astonishing guitar shredding. Watching him is basically being schooled in how to own your guitar.
Moving from screaming pitch harmonics to beautifully melodic lines, he’s ably backed by equally frenetic bass and drums. They manage to come across somewhere between The Shins and America crossed with At the Drive In and Poison. Epic essentially.
So what did it take to, for me, upstage such a ridiculously talented guitarist? A purely joyous and bouncing-off-the-wall show from out of nowhere. If you want energy and want to dance (like you’ll have a choice when they start playing) go and see The Messengers!
Squeezing three guitars, a keyboard, sax, drums and multiple harmonies into two mics and a tiny stage, the five young Melbourne lads (and one lass tonight) were absolutely bursting at the seams with British Invasion 60s pop goodness. “Whiskey and Wine” was pure Van Morrison/”I’m king shit” swagger.
From one song to the next it just didn’t relent. With only an intro keyboard riff, they could blast a song and the pub wide open. It’s the music your parents had sex to and that you should too and not care about the associations. They finished with a swinging cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” for which there was no reason known to man that it should end.
And all this having just played a show at Oxford Art Factory a couple of hours earlier too! As they said, they are “Amazeband”. Check them out. They are incredible!