Slums/Mitch McDonald/Sea Lamb/Mt. Mountain/Gunns/Apache/Koi Child
Friday, June 27, 2014
Last Saturday saw The Bakery transform into Northbridge’s flagship of youth-propelled good vibes as the Bakery Mini-Fest took sail under the helm of a septet of musically varied bands. Inaugurator for the night – and one half of local folk outfit, Wolves At The Door – was James Gates, playing under the pseudonym, Slums. Gates became the musical arroyo for the 8:30 crowd – churning out a set characterised by a breathy, despairing vocal style, desolate, clanging guitar chords and crushing, melancholic music. However, the set, while emotionally performed, seemed to underwhelm the scant crowd that had arrayed before the songster, causing it to fizzle towards the end.
As the crowd started to thicken, the music was taken up a notch by the rockier compositions of Love Junkies’s frontman, Mitch McDonald. Plangently plucking his guitar to a set ripe with Love Junkies songs, including the Hendrix-meets-grunge riffage of Dirty Lover. McDonald, while more sedate than aggressive, punky style of his band, performed a set that managed to reach a steady crescendo.
Sea Lamb, in their debut live show, proved to be a treacle-coated indie rock collaboration, propelled by mellifluous vocals and a soothing juxtaposition to McDonald’s raw performance. However, first-time jitters could be detected in the band’s rhythm section and the compositions, while engaging, lacked melodic contrast.
Mt. Mountain, fresh off the bat from releasing their EP, showcased a set of cosmic freak-out psychedelia, headed by the unassuming frontman, Steve Bailey. Playing a number of untitled jams, the band also managed to pull out a few of the EP favourites, including the psych-rock staple, She Runs.
Complementing the Mt. Mountain boys, Gunns, with their fuzzy surfer dream pop, managed to hook the now turgid crowd with well-constructed, kaleidoscope rock tunes imbued with thick layers of synth. The big, heady sound responded well to The Bakery’s mainstage, though the vocals of frontman, Clinton Oliver, were muddied by the sonic swell.
From there, throwing a curve-ball at the psychedelic cavalcade was befanged reptilian rock monster, Apache. With heavy riffage, big, implacable drum grooves and the ballsy vocals of frontman, Timothy Gordon, Apache felt like the dynamic peak of the night’s steady incline.
Finishing off the night’s entertainment for the die-hard 1am revellers was Koi Child. The band’s mix of hip hop lyricism and jazz harmony came across as strongly rehearsed and confident. While the mix of bass and keys felt a little off-kilter, the band jammed out a set of lush grooves over the top of friendly and engaging vocalist, Shannon Cruz Patterson, who kept the energy levels high right up until closing.