Live Review: Harmony + The Stevens + Mere Women – John Curtin Hotel, Melbourne (05.04.13)

The John Curtin band room is as dark as I have ever seen it. It suited perfectly for some dark chord crunching bands to fill the room with their insanely doomy music. Any god-fearing music lover – is there such a thing? – would turn away at the door if they had no idea what they were seeing.

Mere Women started the evening with a musical washing of the room. The vocals of keyboardist Amy seemed out of this world, in a psychedelic ”hey-man-I’m-in-a-vortex-flying” type of way. The keyboards of the band had a ridiculous tone to that nearly shook the room speakers off their hinges. The howling sounds didn’t make the crowd grimace in horror though. The good-sized early crowd embraced it like the stoic music lovers they are, enveloping their minds like a trance. Guitarist Flyn had a mad bout of concentration face too, which made for interesting facial analysis, which is always a pleasure in the darkened ends of a bandroom.

A brighter affair was musically encased with The Stevens, who twanged and jangled their way through their set. It enhanced up the mood of the room a little – not that the darkened mood of the gig was a bad thing, but it sure filled as a nice noodly sound between to the two other rougher acts. Most of the songs played were from their new 7 inch record, and they seemed to have nailed the songs in a really good tight fashion. ‘Alone’ especially was a major highlight.

If there can be a more brutal yet huggable band in the existence of Melbourne music, Harmony would be it. They meld together some intense, graspy, harsh tones of the male singers with the gooey, sweet resonances of their front-up (as opposed to back-up) female singers. ‘Do Me A Favour’, played early in the set, was received with an brilliant amount of applause in the packed room. And deservedly so, as this track just slayed and pushed the boundaries of brutal intensity. It just went into overdrive from there, finishing in a crescendo of crashes

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