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EVEN & HEADER @ Amplifier gets 8/10

EVEN

Even/Header @ Amplifier Bar
w/ The City Views
Saturday, April 8, 2017

8/10

With an aim to recreate one of their greatest touring memories of the past two decades, Even invited Header to reform for their Less Is More tour. The faces were relatively fresh and the tunes were every bit as potent. Those that came out for an evening of fine pop were hardly disappointed.

Opening the night was newcomers by this evening’s standards. The City Views may contain the rhythm section of The Jangle Band, but they are a far darker beast. Dave Wallace writes tunes like Lesmurdie that are reminiscent of slacker bands like Lemonheads and the Plunderers with a similar knack for a stealthy melody. Period Drama was on the grittier side yet no less appealing as the trio hit Sebadoh like lo-fi prowess for the latter part of the set with drummer ‘Sid’ Eaton being a great foil to Wallace’s lead.

Not having played a gig on home soil in twenty years, there was a high level of anticipation (and possibly some anxiety) for the return of Header. The album that ensured they would embark on many a national tour in the 90’s, On High Street, made up a healthy portion of their setlist with My Angels Sing kicking things off. Ian Freeman still has the iconic voice of his youth and is ably assisted with by the timeless harmonies of Liam Coffey. The two guitar onslaught remained brazen through Letterist Etc  and the unreleased International Icon Finalist.

Freeman joked that no one in Melbourne believed “anyone over here gives a shit about Header and we should get over it”. They couldn’t have been more wrong. There were familiar faces nodding knowingly in the crowd as well as some punters who were seeing the five piece for the first time. The whole crowd moved to the dance floor for the band’s best known track Restoration and stayed there through a swathe of pristine solos from Brad Bolton, right until the perfect power pop of Crazy Head. This was the best homecoming since Peyton Manning.

Melbourne three piece Even have been a consistent partnership for over twenty years although they find themselves playing less shows as the years go by. Their debut album Less Is More is an underrated Australian gem that should see them held in similar regard to bands like The Stems and Lime Spiders. To commemorate a new pressing of the album and its 20th anniversary, Even took on the task of playing Less Is More from start to finish.

There was a sense of urgency from the three members of Even that may have been partly due to the energy of these much loved songs, and possibly because of Header running over time in their set. Karmic Flop was bright and bouncy, with the energy remaining through the slew of singles like Stop And Go Man and Don’t Wait. Ash Naylor is a gun for hire guitarist and writes tunes that have a classic sound. Wally Kempton is a commanding presence as he holds the bottom end together particularly on She Told Me To and Peaches And Cream.

A truncated greatest hits set was then undertaken as Even showed that they are more than a one album wonder. Black Umbrella reminded punters that Even used to be the masters of youth radio. It may have been a performance that was full of familiar songs, but this wasn’t a band that was going through the motions out of a sense of nostalgia. Even still have plenty of tunes left in their cannon.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT

 

 

 

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