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The Bird’s Robe Collective Presents…

Written by Jesse Hayward on February 24, 2010

With such an amazing lineup, it was impossible to resist The Bird’s Robe Collective’s latest party effort at the Annandale. Slimey Things, Darth Vegas and the Fuji Collective are all fantastic bands, but when backed up by the likes of SQUAT Club and Rockethead, well, you’d be mad to miss it.

Well, mad I am but miss it I did not.

First to take the stage was Rockethead, the brainchild of the Fuj’s Tom. Woah! What is this?! Rockethead seem to blur the lines between metal and jazzfunk. At times dark and angry, at times playful and teasing – always bold. Lively, thumping funk shreds as Tom rocks the guitar. Long melodic sections lend a progressive feel but all over, this band is dirty funk rock. Love it. Tom bought me a beer, but it was Boag’s, so I’ve modified my review to be slightly less glowing than Rockethead’s performance really warranted. Sorry Tom, make it Coopers next time.

Next up on the little stage in the little bar, Captain Kickarse and the Awesomes proceed to blow the minds of some old people who wandered in, confused and scared. Also mine. I’ve seen these guys so many times, but every time I find them surprising and fun. Complex and relentless thrash cascades are enlivened by tortured screams. Always pushing towards higher energy, at times drawing back from chaos to a calmer order of heavy easy-listening. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already seen them play. If you haven’t, you should. People will be telling their grandchildren about this band and you want to get in quick before all the good stories are gone.

Svelte are up on the big stage and I don’t know quite what to make of them. Are they an electro/rock band? Wait, with the female vocals it’s almost like dub or soul… I don’t know. Svelte use a strange selection of sounds to make music and perhaps it was just sound issues (there were some) but the noises they’re using don’t seem to fall together so seamlessly. Emily Collins provides an amazing voice to complement the more traditional music, but ultimately Svelte left me a little bored. It is entirely possible that this is due to the mixer, as there seemed to be some issues with the mics etc, but from what I saw Svelte needs a bit more work.

I’d never heard of Squat Club before last week but I’ll be telling my friends about them for months to come. They suckered me in with some laid-back percussion work and associated guitar plucks and bass rumbles before banging solidly into an extended heavy jam. With complex structure and intricacy, this is technically perfect thrash. I saw a man shredding on a bazouki, really I did. Long arcs pull you into a trance before thundering chords push you back into reality. Check em out.

Slimey Things are their usual slimey selves. Wasting no time they shoot straight into SpaceToast, a previous EP release that pleases the crowd no end. There isn’t much I can say about this band that I haven’t said before. An hilarious blend of sci-fi sensibilities and stop/start rock keep the crowd moving and laughing. The sound wasn’t perfect (same stage as Svelte, could be a pattern) so the Things weren’t as consistently textured as they could have been, but they definitely made up for it by being tight as a quark’s britches.

Darth Vegas kick off their mambo madness with the Darth Vader theme done salsa style. A welcome return for these masked avengers at the Annandale – it seems a whole generation of scenesters has missed out on Darth Vegas over the last five years, many people in the crowd had only heard of them. They were not disappointed by Darth Vegas’ unruly antics and caribbean-edged revelry. A pleasure to see them back on a Sydney stage.

The Fuji Collective are funky! What can I say? You know them, you love them, they owe you money, the Fuji Collective are a mainstay of underground Sydney music. The guys have so much fun on stage you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be sucked in to the play. Get down to any one of their gigs and I guarantee you’ll have a good time.

Thanks must go to The Bird’s Robe Collective for putting on an excellent night! Don’t miss their next one!

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