Gig Reviews

Last Dinosaurs + Millions, Oxford Arts Factory – 29/4/12

A lazy writer would probably begin an article like this one by making a lame joke about dinosaurs and extinction. This lazy writer is evidently no exception. Last night’s sold-out show at the OAF was more or less excellent and I can’t see the Dinos disappearing off of the face of the earth unless they all suddenly contract some sort of hideous strain of dinosaur flu, which, knock on wood, would put an end to their indie-pop prescience in one fell swoop of a pterodactyl’s wing. (NB: patting myself on the back for that one).

I arrived early to catch Unearthed up-and-comers Millions, and I’m glad I did. The Brisbane quartet overcame some early struggles with microphone feedback to turn in a really solid performance. An eager audience of sing-alongers buoyed the band’s sixties-inspired shtick, and they returned the favour with impressive renditions of radio singles Guru and Slow Burner as well as a bunch of brand-new tracks from their brand-new EP. Members of Last Dinosaurs substituted in on guitar for a couple of numbers, including breakthrough track Those Girls, which was welcomed early in the evening by a massive round of applause.

With this said, the band’s vocalist would be advised to use his impressive vocal range to talk, rather than mumble, to the audience – he was oftentimes incomprehensible even from right in front of the speakers, and his direct interaction and engagement would have taken Millions’ performance to the next level. The most special part of the set came during the final moments of the band’s closing number, when the Last Dinosaurs charged the stage, hoisted Millions’ singer, bass player and their microphones up onto their shoulders, and struggled to hold them there as they finished the song. It was absolute carnage in the best possible way.

And then there was that other band. Responsible for two consecutive Oxford Arts sell-outs as well as numerous other capacity venues throughout the country, the Last Dinosaurs took the stage with well-earned confidence and jumped and bounced themselves all of the way through a particularly tight forty-five minute set. The band went deep into their catalogue, thrashing through songs dating as far back as their first EP and getting as obscure as the iTunes B-Side from their debut record, In A Million Years.

Oh! They also covered Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Remember Groovejet? ‘Course you do! It’s the one where the British pop singer pines over a man she wants but can’t have and looks impossibly gorgeous doing mundane things in the film clip. That’s not even every song in history. Anyway, I won’t go as far as to say that the Last Dinos looked impossibly gorgeous during their rendition, but their sparkly, disco inspired cover certainly sounded that way. Credit where it’s due – during this song and just about every other song, lead guitarist Lachlan Caskey was the glue that held the rocking horse together, pulling all kinds of weird and wonderful tones out of his left-handed Fender Stratocaster. Impressive.

Wisely, the band saved their big guns for last. Absolute crackers Zoom and Honolulu were frenetic and out-and-out fun, prompting a bevy of drunken audience members to try their hand at crowd surfing (and, let’s be honest, at inadvertently getting their bits touched by pretty indie girls) in the process. Most were unsuccessful. Despite the crowd’s pleas, the set ended without an encore, which was a real shame. Then again, I don’t think there was much the Dinos could have done to top what they’d already accomplished – proving themselves as a fine indie rock band on the Australian music circuit.

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