Michael Savage & Brendan Gaspari album launches @ The Aardvark
w/ Leah Emily Grant
Friday, July 6, 2018
Prior to attending the Brian Jonestown Massacre with Michael Savage as support at Metropolis Fremantle, I had never seen Michael Savage live. But as I walked into Metropolis Fremantle with my brother, my attention was immediately drawn by the lush psych-pop sound with light vintage guitar riffs that Savage produced. Since then, and having listened to Savage’s highly anticipated third album, I was eager to attend Savage’s Won’t Die Wondering and Brendan Gaspari’s Good Morning Sir, How Are You double album launch at the Aardvark.
Leah Emily Grant opened the show, performing as a guitar duo with a dark folk-lullaby sound. Grant sings with passion and her vocals are well modulated and moody. Together the duo produced quite a strong, original sound and performed an emotive cover of Wolf Like Me by TV On The Radio.
Brendan Gaspari was up next, showcasing his third solo album Good Morning Sir, How Are You, a concept-styled album that captures the dread of working a dead end job. Gaspari opened with Another Wasted Sunday and performed ten songs from the album.
As a fan of British music, I could tell straight away that Gaspari’s music was highly influenced by the British styled sounds of Oasis and The Beatles. His songs are short and catchy and have a charming and concealled retro sound. Because of these arrangements his sound slightly resembles 60s British beat music, but adapted to a modern setting and his own individual style.
Gaspari’s vocals have a slight Liam Gallagher sound to them, and the trio has a classic rock and roll vibe, with short sweet guitar solos and fast chord changes. At times Gaspari’s guitar solos sounded like they were heavily influenced by The Kinks iconic solo in All Day and All of the Night. Gaspari sings about easily identifiable ideas and day to day Perth life – what its like to be stuck working in a shit job for years, the downfalls of retail employment, and how unreliable Perth public transport is. The trio’s sound is interesting and fast, with incorporated harmonies that produce a pleasant tone. I was overall impressed by the sound he produced and ideas captured in his album. Concept albums have meaning and purpose behind them and are an important medium for artists to explore, which Gaspari effectively made use of.
At 11pm, Michael Savage and his band were up. Savage opened with Pious Mind from his debut 2015 album, played seven songs from Won’t Die Wondering and performed a new song from his upcoming album as a duo with Mia Brine to close the set.
Musically, the seven-piece outfit performs professionally on stage, producing a strong and unified sound topped by Savage’s echo-y and appealing vocals. Nothing Good stands out as charming, light, catchy and easy listening song. Living Well was interestingly performed, encompassing an electric guitar line that loops throughout and weaves around the beat to produce a captivating sound.
Won’t Die Wondering was co-produced by founding member and original drummer of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ricky Maymi, who also played on the album alongside local legend Greg Hitchcock of Datura4 and You Am I. While I was watching Savage perform, I noticed that Ricky Maymi was up front in the audience dancing to Savage’s sound. When I was chatting to Ricky after the show, he told me that bands should not be defined and labelled by a musical genre, and that musicians need the freedom to produce a sound that is unique. This made me realise that just as the Brian Jonestown Massacre should not be restricted to a genre and image of psychedelic rock, Michael Savage’s sound should not be labelled and compressed to a power-pop/psych-pop genre. A musician’s art should not be restricted to a stereotypical sound or image, and critics shouldn’t be judging performers against a set selection criteria of what a certain genre of music should sound like. Michael Savage’s sound surpasses genres of power/psych-pop, and has the capability to adapt and change into anything the band chooses. The genius behind Michael Savage is that his sound is unique, unidentifiable and un-genre specific. Savage produces music that draws attention and captures a listener in the moment.
Maymi believes Michael Savage and his band are “exceptional” and I 100% agree.
Won’t Die Wondering and Good Morning Sir, How Are You are both great local albums and are available on most music download and streaming services now.
Review and photos by ALEXIA LARCHER