Mrs Bishop, Fox, Brackets at MUM, World Bar 20/05/2011

Waiting in line to get into World Bar on a Friday night has a warm, nostalgic familiarity. Nights of thick, sweaty shake-downs to rock’n’roll, mashing out with your friends, eyes rolling back in your head hollering the lyrics to R.Kelly’s Ignition Remix. The night you got locked out and had a D&M with the bouncer, and those glorious nights when you catch a damn good set. Then there are those crazy nights in which you catch several. And as all great nights go, when you roll in not knowing what to expect, I turned up those last steps and got lost in a world of sonic brilliance, wild drumming and live sampling.

Kicking off the night was the charming young Swedish-born, UK raised Mrs Bishop, the brainchild of brothers Oscar and Hugo Bishop who invited the room into their dreamy landscapes of folk/electronic nostalgia and layered psychedelic vocal harmonies and live drums. This trio gave the crowd a rise with their air of sophisticated madness, tempting the punters out of their seats and shadows to dance.

If you’re into double drummers, bright synths, spacial soundscapes, beautiful women and drawn-out vocals, then Fox are your thing. Crafted by singer/guitarist/programmer Alex Fox, this new energetic act were a nod to the funk-dance legends Daft Punk and obscure 70’s space-funkers Space, bearing similarities to the vocals and energy of LCD Soundsystem. The ‘drum mountain’ setup shared by Alexandra Berriman and Holly Isemonger hypnotized the audience with their call and response, dance fusion style. The set beared moments of disconnect between the vocals and drums, Fox’s focus falling on equipment over audience. Overall, they enchanted the crowd with their left-field energy.

Brackets are a hybrid of the musician and the sound engineer that throw this all together in the format of a band with math-rock drums, psychedelic guitar, strong elements of dub and vocalist Matt Meagher’s brooding Nick Cave-style drawl. This four-piece have been making movements across Sydney venues Oxford Arts Factory, Phoenix, The Metro, The Annandale, Red Rattler and Dirty Shirlows playing a mixture of rock and improvised electronic sets.

They formed at This Is Not Art Festival in 2008 and started out as a more guitar-driven, new school psychedelic venture of rock structure, grooving their way into a more experimental form, drawing influences from the granulizing techniques of artists like Flying Lotus. The night’s setup included Meagher on guitar and bass with a synth set up played by the masterful Alex Dawson and James Nichols. A live side-chaining, looping synth station, the two sharing roles between the thick synths and fat, dub-style bass in songs Hektos and Flower Wielding Robot. The crowd grew, closing in on the makeshift stage space and pulsated madly as drummer Stephen Dobson played sub-divided beats for the signature track Movie Maker, a kind of theme song with skank-style reggae guitar, rolling the vibe up a notch. The chanting “Brackets” vocal sample played through the station put our minds into overdrive, the dancing rose and fell in sync with the off-beats, the set ending on a high, our feet aching.

The sounds of electronic Sydney continue to shift into smangin’ new territories. And although I left feeling like I was about to shift the ten beers I’d just ingested, there was a bright mood throughout World Bar as the night lived on. It was a beautiful display of the innovation and talent coming through Sydney, an endless hub of new approach to rock, dance and synthesized sound.

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