Newly assembled music venue Grumpy’s sits upstairs at Mount Lawley’s the Flying Scotsman pub, in the space formally known as Defectors. Looking like a grungy dive bar with a welcoming tone, this new addition to the local music scene also features lovely bar staff and a decent-sized balcony for all those social and not-so-social smokers.
The first band to set up on the intimate stage on Friday was King Mantis, and they kicked off with a drawling Australian pop-punk voice. King Mantis have a diverse range of sounds within their scape, pulling out rap pieces and then heavier tracks like No Signature which blends intense fast paced vocals with heavy spiralling guitars reminiscent of a psychedelic rock intensity.
The band has sticky riffs which pierced out and filled up the space within the bar. King Mantis has recently upgraded from a four-piece to a five-piece, adding another guitarist, Oliver, who was only playing his second show with them but flawlessly executed their sound. They were tight but sprawling with a good running rhythm and chanting lyrics which whipped into a hurricane of sound when they played their track Twice. The band played their most recent single WTF last and introduced it with “yeah it’s pretty heavy,” and they were right. WTF was launched in July and can be found on their Spotify.
On a completely different musical note, the second artist up to play was The Little Lord Street Band, the acclaimed country-folk outfit who had everyone carving a western groove on the dance floor. There was a little difficulty setting up the sound, having six members and a few of them hopping on multiple instruments on such an intimate stage, but once they got going the compact space embraced the atmosphere. The band played a lovely track off their 2018 debut album Waking Up Next to You called Truth Be Told to start off their set, a bluesy influence tugging at the heart strings. The Little Lord Street Band are a joy to see, with a lovely mood between the musicians. They played a new song called Middle of The Day which had a country swell with soft voices and calming drum lines, not to mention Bella Harvey tearing it up on the mandolin. Ache or Break had a thick rhythm which was joined by a festive taste of harmonica. The Little Lord Street Band finished off on latest single Frankie’s Back in Town, which they have recently been touring around Australia, and it’s clearly already a crowd favourite.
We had all gathered for the last act Alyosha launching of their debut single Hachet Man. A thick bassline carried out, and then tied into a neat pattern of old alt-pop rock.
Alyosha is the project of musician Michael Strong, who previously released a debut album under Michael Strong called Amalthea in 2016. Returning to the stage and the drawing room, Strong has created Alyosha and described it as: “Alyosha is a man trying to stand up straight and grow the hell up. Stepping away from nihilism. Away from self-indulgent depression. Away from cowardly anxiety.”
Alyosha played with a five-piece band, with two electric guitars, an acoustic plus bass and drums featuring members of Salary and Jeff’s Dead among others. Strong seemed earnest, grateful and super appreciative for the people who had come to share in his music. As a singer, Strong conjured comparisons to a wholesome Nick Allbrook, or a mixture between Lou Reed and perhaps even Kevin Bacon in Footloose.
Hachet Man was the final song played by Alyosha. It was swampy with a dark tremble of guitars, as the bassist twisted himself in half and alongside acoustic guitarist (and Michael’s brother) Jeff Strong, formed a lovely mixture that spoke to the project’s inherent maturity.
Photos by Linda Dunjey