Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last Dinosaurs and Papa vs. Pretty - Northcote Social Club, 25th of March 2011

Twas a cold Friday night, where the reek of hot chips being consumed by the person next to you, penetrated the multiple layers of your clothing. Despite the unpleasantness of that forever lingering oil smell, nothing could dampen the thought of a gig awaiting.

Melbourne band Loon Lake supported the co-headliners for the Melbourne leg of their tour. Having previously heard 'In The Summer' with its fair airplay on Triple J, it wasn't at all surprising to see their light and cheery sounds get the early crowd happily bopping along.

Co-headliners Papa vs. Pretty took to the stage next. What I didn't anticipate, was how the next 40 or so minutes would leave me turning to look at my friends repeatedly with wide-eyed awe. Lead Thomas Rawle had a definite hold of the stage, as if having played the guitar since he was conceived, if that were at all possible. The beginings of their energetic set mellowed into an almost atmospheric mood, as Rawle's melodious voice progressed through their songs. There's a joy in watching Rawle, bassist Angus Gardiner and drummer Tom Myers; they emanate this vibe of a good group of friends bound together by something they truely enjoy. It's insane to think that members of this band are in their late teens, yet have the ability to craft songs that ooze maturity beyond their respectfully young age. If anything, Papa vs. Pretty and the next band are prime examples of the extroadinary talent young Australian bands have.

As the rapidly strummed guitar chords of School Is So Easy cut through the hubbub of the eagerly awaiting crowd, it was apparent that Last Dinosaurs were the main attraction of the night. I always love seeing these guys live, as the Caskey brothers (Sean and Lachlan) aren’t afraid of utilising their stage space, so much so that when Sean dances, it were almost as if he was purposely circulating the perimeters of the stage. If drummer Dan Koyama weren't seated behind the kit, I'm sure he could cause a raucous riot too, whilst bassist Sam Gethin-Jones holds his place with understated cool.

The setlist saw a mix of tunes from the band’s earlier days, to tracks off their EP Back From The Dead (with the exception of Alps much to my disappointment). New tracks were tested and from what was happening around me, it was apparent that the audience liked what they heard. With dense and slightly darker harmonies combined with their signature bright riffs, there was a definite sense of the band having developed a tighter musical unit. One of the new tracks saw Lachlan Caskey (lead guitarist) showcase the depth of his so far unrevealed skill. This was the second time that I would find myself in a trance of complete awe, as Lachlan showed the gathered fans that they really hadn’t seen anything yet, as far as his guitar playing goes.

As the opening riff of Honolulu reached the audience's ears, you couldn't help but feel a change in the crowd. It was obvious that a majority had been waiting to hear this familiar and well-loved song, and gladly it was welcomed with open arms. This preceded the final song of the night, latest single Time and Place.

Photos: Alean Penaflor