Live review: A Place to Bury Strangers

6’s Melissa Barrass reviewed and photographed A Place to Bury Strangers in Sydney, and wonders why more people weren’t there:

It took me two days to hear clearly again after seeing A Place to Bury Strangers live at Hermann’s Bar in what may be one of the more confusing gigs I have ever attended. You see, firstly I am genuinely super confused as to how such a fantastic noise rock band was downgraded from Manning Bar to Hermann’s and secondly, well you’re just going to have to read on for that one.

I confess. I only discovered this band two weeks prior to the commencement of the tour through FBi radio (bless you guys, seriously). After a bit of research, I also discovered they were playing soon in Sydney. Luck? I think not. It is now a fully-fledged love affair.

The night kicked off with Narrowlands, a Sydney hard-hitting noise punk band whom drew a devoted and interactive crowd. Despite the awkward on-stage banter, I couldn’t help but notice the bassist who actively stole the show playing loud and energetically to a receiving crowd.

I initially felt that after the growls and sludgey sounds of Narrowlands, Flyying Colours would be an odd addition to the tour’s line-up. And whilst they were the quietest band there, they certainly didn’t disappoint a warmed up crowd. Easily one of my favourite Melbourne bands alongside Luna Ghost, Flyying colours is a band to keep track of for their lo-fi swirling pop sounds, adventurous guitar riffs and dreamy shoegaze vocals. This is the second time I have seen the band, and I simply cannot get enough of their music. They sit somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Ride, but have such a contemporary vibrancy to their music. The lights and smoke machine wrapped around the members, as the lead Brodie tore through their short but sweet set with my favourite track “Not Today”. The song begins with a slow and dreamy atmospheric riff, then jumps into a catchy beat before the guitars take over, shredding throughout. They also played other psych shoegaze numbers – “Wavygravy”, “Like You Said” and their latest single “Running Late”. If you are yet to catch this band live, I highly recommend them. They also have released a new EP ROYGBIV (the album art is pretty fantastic).

When A Place to Bury Strangers took to the stage, I managed to shuffle up close to the front with a pal, affix my over-priced but oh-so-worth it Satan Vision x APTBS psychedelic 3D-esque glasses to my face, but somehow managed to forget the ear protection. The excessive availability of distortion pedals such as the Echo Dream and fuzz filters added to the messy reverb that was bouncing off the walls. The NYC trio have accomplished a sound that is so artistically chaotic, yet so perfectly fluent in presentation. Playing to a large but not sold out crowd, the band tore through a handful of songs both old and new before the lights came on.

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It was at that point my damaged eardrums could just make out bassist Dion Lunadon mouthing, “Evacuate outside”. Deflated die-hard fans slowly left the premises to stand outside as fire crew were called, and within 10 minutes we were back inside.

This is where the confusion kicks in – What triggered the alarm? Was it the smoke machine? What just happened?

When the lights turned off, patrons were once again buzzing, hungry for more. Those who felt like they couldn’t get a good view of the band prior ran to the front to secure their spots.

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The remainder of the set went smoothly, however the band was missing their smoke machine haze as it was switched off due to the fire risk (I’m guessing). The crowd was head-banging and toe-tapping to the fusion of reverb and electronic beats, song after song until the closing track of the evening “I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart” ended the set on an extremely experimental note with Ackermann altering a continuous distorted sound with his fret board with what seemed to be a strobe light.

Moments later, the band made their way through a parting crowd individually with their instruments to a drum machine and microphone set up towards the back of the room where they preceded to create this wild and unexpected performance to a circling crowd. The hype at this point was through the roof, and as they finished, the satisfied crowd roared with cheer.

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Taking the small space, the strobe lighting and deafening onslaught of fuzzy sound into context, A Place to Bury Strangers are a group in their own league. Here’s to hoping they will be back again soon with more new music and a better turnout.

melissa barrass


Words and picture by Melissa Barrass.