Saw a brief reference in one of the local free rags to ‘Progfest’ at Rosies in Brisbane on Friday night. Lots and lots of Aussie progressive bands, from post-rock to metal. For 15 bucks, at the end of a long week… how bad could it be?
The answer, as it turned out, was that it could be freaking amazing! We saw 5 of the 10 bands who played on the night – some played on another stage, and we had to leave before ‘Neath played, but apparently they were also amazing – and of those 5, 4 just completely blew me away. Lots and lots of fantastic new Australian music to listen to: and Matt and I both snarfed up many CDs from the merch table.
So Cassie, Matt and I wandered out. Sue dropped us off on her way to work, so we were in town a bit early. Had coffee and thought about waiting around a bit longer, but ended off heading to Rosies at 7 pm when the doors opened. And we’re so glad we did.
The poster said ‘Toe Hider’s Mike Mills‘, and we wondered ‘what’s that about?’ As it turned out, it was Mike Mills on a stool with an electric guitar, and a Brisbane muso on keys as backup, because it wasn’t possible to bring the full band, Toe Hider, up from Melbourne for the show. There was hardly anyone in the room, so we just sat at a table, with cold ones, and had our socks comprehensively blown off. Brilliant, funny, amazing songs, and the voice of a horny angel. Toe Hider (which, it has to be said, are pretty much Mike Mills’ band) are producing 12 EPs in 12 months, each with 6-10 songs… and they’re all amazing. We bought a two-CD set of ‘The First Six’ – so something like 40 original songs – for 25 bucks. If you want to get a sense of what they’re about, go here: http://www.toehider.com/12in12/ (but acoustic, in terms of the show on Friday… which if anything showed the songs off even better)
Next up were Silver Ocean Storm – kind of progressive melo-death, I guess. Competent, and with interesting elements, but overall the least interesting band of the night, for mine…
Sleepmakeswaves were the point of departure for me from Matt and Cassie – they found them amiable enough but not very interesting, with their long evolving post-rock excursions. Being a big fan of Agalloch and post-rock generally, I found them absolutely mesmerising. Their music is all available for free streaming and download, so check it out here: http://www.archive.org/details/LostChildren077
I’d been hearing good things about local Brisbane band Arcane for a long time. They were a fair bit more metal live than on record – but amazing in both forms. Proggy metal that’s fascinating and complex, with an amazing vocalist. Definitely a band that will be huge if there’s any justice at all. The word ‘arcane’ is used enough to make it a bit tricky to find them on YouTube, but ‘arcane brisbane’ will find you lots of examples of their stuff.
The really surprising band of the night were ‘Ne Obliviscaris‘. Cass and Matt were sitting down in another room while they were setting up, but I saw the chops of the guitarists and bassist in sound-check and dragged them in. So we were in the second row from the stage when they came on. Their name is rare enough to be easy to find on YouTube and there’s some good live footage that will give you the idea. In short, right in front of us was a very business-like looking guy in chinos and a business shirt, short hair, looked a bit like a young Guy Pearce, could easily have walked straight out of an accountants’ office. And he was playing violin and singing clean vocals. Next to him was a cadaverous-looking pale freak with long straight black hair and a complex skirt-like outfit covered in zips, singing extreme death-black vocals. And around them an incredible tech-prog-death band… with a drummer who looked like a blonde rugby player. Just stunning music.
I would have been absolutely stoked to see any of these bands for 15 bucks – to see all of them together with amazing.