Photo by Kurt Davies
Opening proceedings PVT‘s Laurence Pike, billed as Lurenz PVT on the run sheet posters in the venue, proved that he is some kind of android drumming freak. Starting with minimal tom and snare work using mallets, the solo built and shifted through varying different grooves, Laurence switching from mallets to sticks to brushes to mallets again and moving in an additive shifting of rhythm reaching crescendo and then rolling back two or three times before the sound guy had to motion for the beast to stop. This took a while as he was playing with his eyes closed. Fucking freak.
Dead Farmers were next up and my god did they kick ass. A bit of a strange choice for a line-up featuring a half hour avant jazz drum solo and post-punk’s answer to Phillip Glass, the band were nevertheless great, grabbing the attention of the crowd if not penetrating their veneer of dead faced introspection.
David Ackerman and Dan Lander on guitar and bass respectively are fucking demons. They’ve obviously spent countless hours honing their playing into razor sharp points of awesome, executing complex rhythmic changes and spasmodic fills with the practiced ease of musicians who love what they do and love doing it.
Regardless of how strong both opening acts were, My Disco were undoubtedly the stars of the night. Exclusively playing songs of new album Little Joy, the band proved that the live arena is their natural habitat, the volume adding weight a depth to the album material and catapulting it to heightened levels of sonic power.
The playing was faultless, with even broken strings not getting in their way of delivering furious renditions of their work. Ben Andrews on guitar, obviously a lot happier now he doesn’t have to change the tuning on his guitar between every song, playing mostly in an open C tuning (C,G,C,G,C,C) switching his guitar once or twice for a few songs, where I think he was playing in open A or something equally retarded, although, I’m not even sure that’s possible.
His brother Liam, having exchanged his aluminium necked bass for a vintage Fender Precision was relentless in churning out rounded bottom end accompaniment to Ben’s caterwauling noise, his melodies simple but incredibly effective. While some have criticised the vocals on Little Joy for being monotonous, live this works beautifully as his vocals waft over the rest of the music as a more rhythmic element, the monotone quality of his singing and repetitive lyrics adding to the overall build up of the songs.
Drummer Rohan Rebeiro has come a long way since I last saw the band play and it is with him that the forward momentum of their songs rests. While Liam will sit on a rhythm and Ben provides textural backing, it is Rohan who through his ever changing, fill littered drumming that drives each song’s evolution. Somehow remaining restrained despite playing very intricate stuff, Rohan manages to lead from the back, never grabbing the attention of the audience with bombast or ego driven showmanship.
The whole show is almost like some medieval religious rite, reminding me of Gregorian chant in it’s trance like atmosphere and aura. Understandably not everyone’s cup of tea, My Disco are however one of Australia’s best, most exciting and most innovative bands, of not only today but all time. Unfortunately like too many local luminaries there does seem to be a lack of appreciation of them here, especially in Sydney where as in Melbourne they are considered local royalty, but I don’t think they really care.
In a world where people demand music that makes no demands on them, for musicians who wish to challenge themselves and their audience their only reward can be the satisfaction that comes with meeting that challenge, and My Disco do so head on.
View photos from My Disco, Dead Farmers and Laurenz Pike at Manning Bar 26/11/10 (Kurt Davies)