Almost everyone you know is in a band, or at least wants to be in one. Call it a one degree of separation, but there’s an intoxicating feeling about augmenting friendships in the pursuit of creative endeavour. Just as the encroaching digital wave had seemed to signal the dearth of garage-rock and it’s wildly loose sensibilities, the exact opposite occurred – people began to obsess over tube amps, the stomp-box industry exploded and rehearsal rooms proliferated throughout cities. The DIY-rock revolution appeared to tap into the very nexus of creativity and close-knit community.
It’s this sociability that exudes from the fated five bands at Jack Rabbit Slim’s on Saturday night, a collectivised social purview of Perth’s musical brightest and raucous. Things began to wind up slowly with The Ohmy Days, their jangly, strat-driven arrangements reminding me somewhat of bands like DIIV and Wild Nothing; a certain surf-rock sensibility that should sit comfortably on an indie label’s periphery.
A burst of arpeggios opened up Midnight Goon’s set, with a pair of keyboardists thickening up the homogenous wallop of chordal exaltation the song then ascended into. Perhaps the grungiest band of the night, their sound took the best advantage of Slim’s awesome PA, with the vocalist’s Cornell-esque delivery sitting nicely atop horizons of distortion. It was a balanced sound that often surprised me with its smatterings of neat tonal touches and ambient interludes.
In stark contrast was the next band Moonlighter, their brick and mortar approach feeling more familiar but nonetheless just as impressive. Playing the recently released ‘The Fool’ was killer, the band thriving off the opportunity to flex that gargantuan muscle of a riff, while their deliberate, unabashed adoption of true rock-and-roll tropes was crowned with a mid-set jaw-dropping guitar solo by the band’s frontman, Sascha Seabourne-Carlin. Featuring a heavily blues-driven interplay and an unmistakable confidence to back it up, their set was complete with a Voodoo Child cover, Seabourne-Carlin certainly looking the part with a left-handed strat slung between his hands.
Often breaking out into raps that reminded me of one Afro Chameleon from across the pond, Mt. Cleverest deliver an interesting blend of indie’s fervour and rock & roll’s more edgier proclivity, with some almost-percussive guitar thrown in the mix. Like many of the other bands on the night, Mt. Cleverest’s confidence couldn’t be without mention; often mixing something of the Kooks with a touch more reverb and delay. It’s safe to say the band definitely owned their penultimate billing as Slim’s started to fill out to capacity.
With its diverse collation of sunny-indie feels, Boykie’s EP (entitled Still Hiding) had all but set an appropriate launch, with the band taking the stage in poised fashion. The first song – a completely unexpected rendition of James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ – was received with much kudos. Frontman Sam Stopforth’s swagger reminded me a little of Anthony Kiedis, as he looked to be in his own world atop the stage. Boykie’s visceral expositions weren’t lost on the crowd, their dynamic off-kilter rhythm was a perfect frame for some of their more engaging and impassioned lyrics. Particularly impressive was their focus in front of such a large crowd, as Jack Rabbit Slim’s is becoming increasingly THE go-to live music hub.
Something local bands will always have over national & international bands is an appetite for a crowd and an enthusiasm that is often missing from the more exhausted and over-rehearsed touring acts. The bands at Slim’s couldn’t help but further this idea, bringing a party and then some.