Rockets Explode were the first act to grace the stage this week and boy did these young lads bring their A game. Not only was the crowd peppered with fans wearing their classic “ROCKET-SEX-PLODE” T-shirts, but on only their second gig, they sounded like they’d been playing for years. Their music was an awesome mix of modern-indie and 90s grunge, with the singer having many an Eddy Vedder moment while the band wail behind him.
Billygoat & The Mongrels were up next and they brought some straight up backwater blues to the mix, with muddy guitars and scratchy vocals they reminded me of a slightly drunker Augie March. Lead singer Billygoat treated the audience to a healthy helping of his multi-instrumental talent switching between guitar, slide and banjo, while clarinet player Bridget added bewitching and haunting melodies that really cemented the bands original sound.
Now super FLORENCE jam impressed before they even had a chance to play a single note as they took to the stage, as not only was guitarist Adam sporting a Jimmy Page-esque double neck Epiphone Gibson-SG rip-off, but the bassist Alex was rocking twice the neck as well. I was later informed that they’re all supposed to have double necks, but unfortunately Laurence’s is a piece of shit, so he sticks to a single.
They played with charisma, energy and a hint of Hispanic fire. Their last song ended, and as we were warned progressed through to the many secret endings. Laurence donned a wig as tall as it was sexually appealing and the Can Can moved into the outro to the Looney Tunes which itself transformed into Frank Zappa’s famous piece of guitar wankery The Muffin Man. The entire band demonstrated their uncanny soloing abilities, with Laurence throwing himself to the ground in a fit of guitar fuelled excitement before Adam and Alex joined in as they staggered around the stage falling over each other.
Last up on this momentous night was Killed Two Birds, One Was Stoned. A hybrid of some of the members of Seclusion and Captain Kickarse & The Awesomes, Killed Two Birds is a double-bass, drum and percussion laced piece of Brian Jonestown Massacre-esque indie-roots jam fest, with the mighty Joel King of Seclusion wielding his microphone and acoustic guitar with the enthusiasm of a twelve year old boy who just discovered masturbation.
The band delivered a solid set of consistent and well-measured jams. Percussionist Alex O’Toole and drummer Brad were pushing each other to greater and greater heights of rhythmic fervour. Guitarist Phil delivered blistering guitar lines which perfectly mingled with The King’s acoustic noodling.
This was the third week in a row the Secluded Records crew have packed out The Hopetoun, and with the night attracting an average of 70 people every Sunday, it’s no wonder why they manage to consistently attract such a high calibre of musicians and punters alike. Unfortunately the run is coming to an end, but don’t despair, as the boys are running a night every Thursday in August at The Abercrombie called Artcoustic Thursdays.