Friday, July 25, 2014
We’re already at that time again, the semi-finals stage of The Big Splash.
MC Magnus provided words and context in his usual dapper and dynamic manner, as the judges gathered their thoughts to appraise the bands in terms of musicality, innovation, originality, crowd response and, of course, je ne sais quoi.
One can only venture a guess as to the reason behind the band name, Dream Rimmy, but surely, it must be lewd. Taking the stage some 10 minutes late (due to no fault of their own), Dream Rimmy were resplendent with guitars that were seemingly colour-coordinated with the bass player’s socks, and a barstool being used quite sturdily as a keyboard. Their opening gambit was a catchy new tune for the band, with duel harmonies reminiscent of The Breeders, that carried on throughout the set. It was an often humorous set, with a lot of support up the front. Expect an EP, Pacific Rim, to surface soon.
Eloise Ashton and her backing band took to the stage next, launching into a song with a quite a mellow groove rendered quite infectious with a distinct jazz feel accentuated by the drummer’s use of brushes instead of sticks. Ashton asked the somewhat shy crowd to move forward and her request was duly granted. Singing solo with a ukulele for the third song, Ashton looked like a polka dot angel, back lit from the stage lighting. It was a little laidback for a Friday night at times, but Ashton’s songs are nicely written, with complex chord changes that were well delivered overall.
There was no mistaking Puck‘s intentions on this night – heavy, grinding, simple sounding garage rock with the occasional odd time signature to prove otherwise. A baritone guitar and bass combined with drums for a heavy, large, penetrating, low frequency sound. Clearly a crowd favourite, Puck had heads bobbing up front and an invitation wasn’t necessary. Holy puck, they were loud.
All three pieces of Kitchen People took the stage – guitar/vocals, borrowed bass and simple drum kit. There’s no mistaking they’re a punk band, with lots of stage presence, and while some songs could drift into monotony, the energy of it brought it all home. Top tunes for antidisestablishmentarians.
Husband provided a change of pace, Michael Paolino’s brooding voice given added dynamic via keyboardist, Anneke de Rooij’s backing vocals. Husband weren’t afraid to slow it down a little, highlighting Darrell Sundai’s hard-hitting drum work as hues of The Bad Seeds speckled the music, including a cover of The Moody Blues’ Nights In White Satin. While it made for a big change from the energy of some of the previous bands, Husband’s closing set was no less powerful.
In seemingly no time, MC Magnus was back on the stage announcing the winners. Dream Rimmy were victors on this occasion, with Kitchen People following them into the grand final at The Bakery on Saturday, August 9. Overall, there was a lot of talent exhibited and a variety of music to please almost everyone.
The second semi-final happens this Saturday, August 2, at the Rosemount with Pat Chow, Old Blood, Hideous Sun Demon, Junkadelic and a wild card entry from heats 5-8.