Thursday, June 30, 2011

Papa vs Pretty - Northcote Social Club, 25th of June 2011

If there is one thing to be said it’s this; my mind is completely overwhelmed with the immense talent that are Papa vs Pretty.

The Sydney-based trio took to stage and dove into track
Life's Got A Hold Of Me. The guys’ humble nature swiftly broke the barrier between stage and audience, establishing an effortless flow between band and fans. It was too easy to forget that we were all essentially strangers to each other and easy to believe that collectively as a crowd, we’d merely gathered to watch our friends perform.

Lead Thomas Rawle and drummer Tom Myers constantly conversed with the audience, whilst bassist Gus Gardiner gracefully still took his place on stage despite being unwell, even joking that song
I Still Believe In Us ought to be changed to ‘I Still Believe in Gus’. Tracks off debut album United in Isolation made up the bulk, with past singles such as Wrecking Ball and Heavy Harm also woven through the setlist. True to form, latest single One of the Animals unleashed chaos within the already energetic mob.

With genius guitar riffs that know no boundaries between frets, articulated drum patterns and underlying bass lines heavily- yet concise and structurally- layered in a majority of their songs, it’s the odd, bare, acoustic ballad tracks that reveal the band’s musical diversity. Despite their quintessential ‘rock’ sound, there is a depth to the band that Rawle seems to consciously shine light on, performing tracks such as
Bitter Pill and I Felt Nothing (one of the encores), which require only him and his guitar for a majority of the time.

You’d think a musician such as himself, who displays an unbelievable level of skill and talent, wouldn’t be unnerved with the prospect of being exposed by the absence of other backing instruments. Self-doubt, however, is only human instinct after all, as Rawle confides within the audience that he personally finds the ‘quiet’ songs harder to play, as ‘it’s easier for people to hear mistakes’. On the contrary the crowd were oblivious to mistakes made or not, raising their lighters and phones as Rawle’s incredibly strong voice rang throughout the room in an effortless vibrato.

It cannot be stressed enough how remarkable these three musicians are, there is a fierce intensity to this band that is surely only achieved with having such a tight unit. Together, they quite possibly form one of the most promising Australian acts around.

Photos: Alean Penaflor

Thursday, June 23, 2011