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MR. CARMACK @ Jack Rabbit Slim’s gets 7/10

Mr. Carmack @ Jack Rabbit Slim’s
w/ Silva, Oakover, Summit DJs
Thursday, April 5, 2018


I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. If you’re a single lass looking for Mr. Right you probably won’t find him at a ‘bass’ gig, however, you will have a plentiful selection and Serial’s highlight Mr. Carmack at Jack Rabbit Slims last Thursday was no exception to the rule.

At a bright and early start of 8pm, locals Oakover and Silva herded in a decent crowd for a school night, playing just the type of sets you expect from the support. Nothing too abrasive, no head turners but just enough to set a mood, even if that mood was entirely removed from what you thought you were coming to see.

Keeping us waiting an extra 35 minutes – practically drooling for him, Mr. Carmack introduced himself with a “Haven’t done one of these shows for a while. It’s kind of rare. Hope you enjoy it,” before being cast into the darkness and the small glow of some little spotters. An eerie melodic piano interlude had half the crowd listening and the other half talking over it, before he sang some beautiful long stretching vocals over the top in a very James Blake fashion. The moodiness eventually dissipated into a funky driver with the guitarist and later Carmack whipping out a trumpet and giving that a toot or two. In that moment it felt like real, good live music. It was the love child of electronic and something a little more sophisticated. The off kilter drum beats and improvisation gave the whole set an air of maturity.

I assume what I am about to say will be somewhat contentious in that Mr. Carmack didn’t meet expectations. That’s not to say it’s a good or bad thing but just that he didn’t deliver a set the majority of fans (and Serial goers) anticipated. It’s like asking for a scoop of chocolate ice cream and getting choc chip. It’s still ice cream – and you like both of the flavours, there’s a similar consistency and traces of what you asked for but at the end of the day they’re still alarmingly different. They might have warned you by saying it was a new recipe (or ‘live’ in this case) but the previous brand the man had created for himself wasn’t present on the night. In saying this he didn’t cater to any of the audience’s wants as he just cruised on through.

It’s impossible to put a finger on exactly what he’s doing music wise. It’s not a DJ set, it’s not a boiler room thing, it’s not fully live. It’s breaking the mould. With more solid drum beats you believed for a second or so that he was going to throw it into a heavier disposition but then he just reverted back to the same chilled pace.

At the end of his set about 50% of punters filed out, as expected, but if you’d waited for the credits you would’ve got some more of the old Carmack as he jacked it up a notch or two. Stepping back out in his casual clothes meant he could do whatever he wanted – even if that meant swigging Patron from the bottle. But alas,  here you could see his talent in mixing, something which looked like he could do in his sleep. There was not much of a challenge anymore – it was just about the party vibe and acting as a total connoisseur of dance music. Zeke Beats joined him on stage with just a touch of incredible scratching and after about an hour long extended set, Mr Carmack bid Perth adieu.

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