Big Scary – 170 Russell, Melbourne 04/10/16

There’s already a line around the block as tonight’s first act, Dreller begin their warm-up set.

The anthemic rock outfit is led by the bubbly Thomas Rawle, a London-Sydney based musician. Despite being a two-piece, the pair manage to pack a punch with a polished, energetic performance. Rawle helpfully spells out the band name for the crowd, informing us that it’s a mix of Cinderella and Dracula, before plugging his NSFW online animated videos for singles such as Control and A Signal That Comes Back (these are definitely worth a look!). This precedes a different, more mysterious kind of musical offering, in which a looser, more-emotive style sees a slow build towards a longing crescendo with sonorous wails and high octane drums. Fans should eagerly await further releases from Dreller.

Big Scary bring their unique brand of catchy pop rock to 170 Russell tonight in their first Melbourne show in three years. The first of three hometown performances, these shows form part of Big Scary’s national tour to launch their third album, Animal. To enrich their live show, the duo tonight feature three supporting musicians including saxophonist Gus Rigby. The quintet open their set with the dramatic drumbeats of Oxygen, an offering from the new record, in which drum pads work in unison with Jo Syme’s heavy analogue drumming. This epic doubling up of drums, as well as the duo’s singing in chorus, adds a welcome shadowy, almost militaristic flavour to an otherwise buoyant tune.

The outfit favour a broad approach to genre and instrumentation, as well as strong, lyrical vocals. They create an upbeat ’80s vibe with the occasional lounge jazz interlude lurking beneath, launching into the rare but polished spouts of chord-heavy, harder rock. The breadth of their influences really comes through on Over Matter. Dramatic strobe lights shimmer out across the crowd throughout this single, which at times emanates a real Chet Faker-like vibe. It cleverly layers smooth drumming with maracas, a bold, crooning sax and alternately dramatic and strange, hooting vox. Emblematic of their strange cornucopia of influences, the tune receives one of the strongest receptions of the night.

They follow this with another crowd favourite, the stripped back Bad Friends which sees Iansek tinkering on guitar against gentle harmonising. The song conveys a relatable ennui in the failures of friendship. (Iansek claims he never used to play this song because he was a “dick”. Syme changed this). They finish their eclectic set with a string of highlights: the effortless cool of Flutism, crowd favourite and single The Opposite of Us and the dark disco stylings of Up and Up and Up. They don’t make their fans wait long for an encore (“it’s a Tuesday night”). Making sure to thank their hometown crowd, punters can’t help but lap up the many faces of this well-loved local talent.

Big Scary’s national tour continues with another Melbourne show this Friday, October 7th. Head here for details.

Gallery: Big Scary – 170 Russell, Melbourne 04/10/16 / Photos: Nikki Williams

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