The Aussie BBQ feat. Wagons + Crayon Fields – Corner Hotel (23.02.10) – Second Take!


Spirits were high in the Corner band room after the success of the S.L.A.M rally and Premier Brumby agreeing to relax the ridiculous liquor licensing laws that have been shutting down iconic live music venues across the state (R.I.P The Tote). A large, happy crowd had gathered early to give our bands a proper send off to the SXSW festival in Austin.  

First up were Pets With Pets, who put on an interesting, albeit weird set. These guys are a 2-piece consisting of drums, electronics and a guitar. Their music can best be classified as alternative/experimental, and whilst I have no idea what they were trying to do, they were a great live act. The vocalist wore a shawl that completely covered his face and made a lot of miscellaneous noises into the mic. They built up a massive wall of sound with tribal drumming and some nice 80’s synth in a few tracks. They are definitely a band to keep an eye out for.

Next in line were Melbourne’s Summer Cats. Their music was fun, fast paced, hook-laden indie pop; it was great to finally catch them live. Showcasing the material from their new record “Songs For Tuesday” as well as a few new tracks, their fuzz-bop sounds went down a treat live, as did the addition of a sixth band member. For me, a highlight of their set was a ripper version of “Hey You”, and the singers slightly awkward but entertaining dancing.

Special guest star Paul Dempsey was a sight to behold with his 90’s heartthrob hair, singing his mellow, heartfelt tunes on a borrowed guitar and talking up the S.L.A.M rally in-between songs. Dempsey is of course an amazing performer, and with his deep rich voice he played a highly emotive, impassioned set and had all the ladies swooning with a sing a long to “Ramona Was A Waitress”.  

Brisbane’s The Boat People are back and better then ever. The boys are well schooled performers, and they played a delightful set consisting of a mix of songs from “Chandeliers” and brand new material from their forthcoming third LP. James, Robin, Tony and Charles jumped around and kept us all entertained with a killer rendition of “Awkward Orchid Orchard”. Their new songs were a mix of pretty keyboards with a slightly rockier edge, and were very enjoyable. I look forward to the release of that album in the next few months. (Click here to download a copy of their new single ‘Sophoric’)

Crayon Fields played a surprisingly bland set. Their music was formulaic, clichéd pop that was more derivative than original, and the nerdy looking band members lacked any kind of stage presence. Although they had pretty roses tied to their mic stands, it was not enough to distract from their blasé sound.  

The last act for the night was Wagons, who ended a fantastic night with an energetic, fun-filled set. A friend described these guys to me as “country music that’s not entirely country”, and even though that’s quite the conundrum, I can think of no better way to describe their sound. Singer Henry Wagons is a big ball of crazy, has a great voice and is a highly amusing front man. He swaggered around the stage, telling stories, busting out a few dance moves and whipping the crowd up into a hoe down style dance frenzy. It was a perfect way to round up a great night of local talent that had us all stumbling out of the band room with big, ridiculous smiles on our faces.