Spray & Wipe at The Espy, Melbourne

Marcus Thaine checked out a bunch of bands at The Espy last Friday:

Burnt out in the foray of gritty guitar rock which dominated the night, I managed to miss Northeast Party House, the night’s headliners and undoubtably the closest thing to Bloc Party down under (not to worry, we reviewed them recently – Ed). However, I caught some of my favourite acts and stumbled across amazing talent in this multi-act festival-like night.

On entry to the Espy, audible sighs were heard from near and far as posters plastering the venue detailed that, “due to unforeseen circumstances, Oscar + Martin will not be performing tonight”. I love Oscar + Martin, and along with nearly everyone else there, I was pissed that they weren’t playing. I’m still pissed.

Moving on, I was lucky enough to catch the final moments of the Bored Nothing set. Bored Nothing (pictured, top) is the intricate indie-rock workings of Melbourne bedroom demo master Fergus, and his friends. Spreading the word through leaving crayon coloured demo’s around Melbourrne pubs, and bands like Bleeding Knees Club marking him as their favourite new band, Bored Nothing is building some well-deserved hype.

Next was I’lls (pronounced Isles), a drum machine driven, experimental beats three-piece who completely won me over. Subtle synths dissolved into reverb dense vocals and off kilter drum loops – all lying somewhere between Radiohead, The Invisible and a very drugged up Foals. Despite sounding great, everything was a little still and structured onstage. This rigidity was only heightened by the fact that every song felt as if it was about to climax into a huge synthy soundscape, but never quite did. This however, only left me wanting more.

I saw Drunk Mums play in Brisbane to an industry crowd, and it was wild. Seeing them play to their home crowd, in a room far too small was absolutely crazy. From the moment they started tuning up the whole room was surging and violently swaying. Even the more mellow tracks (nothing is mellow with the Drunk Mums) had people plastered to the ceiling crowd surfing and the band forced back after the mics and cymbals being knocked over.

Escaping the sweaty elbow action of Drunk Mums I awkwardly stumbled into a slightly cheesy piano ballad by Sydney duo Toucan. Bit of a difference. Despite singer Jess having beautifully jazzy vocals and animatedly bouncing around the stage, there is just something about a keyboard onstage which massively stunts a performance. Particularly when a six-foot-something guy is hunched behind, and trying to move with it. Saying that, these conservatorium grads have some huge pop tunes, such as the fantastic, Brave New World. Surely a favourite of Triple J’s younger listeners.

Shortly following were Dune Rats, who mostly attracted the Drunk Mums crowd. So as expected; intense moshing, crowd surfing and flipping off the security guards made a regular appearance. There was also the odd stage-invade, where one avid fan would jump on and awkwardly lurk until slyly receding back into the crowd (punk). Apart from having wild stage antics, Dune Rats really do have some great tunes. Closing the set, the audience were told to crouch down, as if praising some god. At the song’s crescendo everyone erupted up into a sea of writhing, fist pumping fun – proving that Dune Rats might just be gods worth worshiping.


Review by Marcus Thaine.