It’s my first time to the newly renovated Newtown Social Club. Though it’s been operating for months now, I hadn’t yet been in to see a show at what was once the legendary Sandringham Hotel. Thankfully, it’s great. Cleaned up, with a neat corner stage upstairs in the band room and a set up that feels cosy with the Monday night crowd, yet full enough to create a good vibe.
The opening band of this quality triple bill is Sydney five-piece WE LOST THE SEA. Recovering from last year’s loss of their frontman Chris Torpy, they have since forged ahead as an instrumental band, though a solitary mic stand still stands unused on stage in reverence. The band excel in the slow build, maintaining restrained humming grooves that build into lengthy and vigorous crescendos. There are many acts out there doing this thing, but these guys are still able to generate the emotional impact that such music needs.
SOLKYRI were up next, this being only their second show as a four-piece, with newly minted member Ryan Pracy joining as second guitarist. Opening with the fantastic ‘Hunter’ from 2013’s ‘Are You My Brother?’ before showcasing a bunch of new material from a forthcoming release, the band demonstrated excellent use of this extra layer. Rather than simply doubling riffs, Pracy adding atmospherics and swapped lead lines with guitarist Adam Mostek. Whilst the mix wasn’t great and the band were a little rusty after such a long time off, what appealed about their set was the unbridled energy and passion they put into it. They are striving to push out of the post-rock tropes and nearing the kind of rock impact currently demonstrated by bands like And So I Watch You From Afar and sleepmakeswaves. It’ll be great to see how the new record turns out.
Finally, MAYBESHEWILL took the stage as the audience crowded to the front. Drawing 5 tracks from their most recent (and in my opinion, their best) album ‘Fair Youth’ they also showcased a range of classic cuts from their career including of course the incredible ‘Red Paper Lanterns’ and the poignant closer ‘He Films the Clouds pt. 2’ with a vocal chorus outro that was as surprising as it was incredible. For the uninitiated, their sound lies somewhere between 65daysofstatic and God Is An Astronaut, but it’s an altogether smoother and easily accessible blend that ensured their set was never dull. Maybeshewill favoured mid-tempo rock grooves with plenty of verve and energy from guitarists John Helps and Robin Southby, centred by bassist/producer Jamie Ward and his determined, gritty performance. The thing about Maybeshewill is that they gel as a unit and produce a sound greater than the sum of its parts – there are no flashy lead breaks, the music as a whole rises like a wave together and washes over you. This tour coming halfway through their mammoth 60+ international tour, we found the band at an appreciative moment of their career, offering profuse thanks for the assembled audience before exiting the stage. Looking around at the punters in attendance, more than one wore a visible affected expression after such a fantastic set.
Over the last year or so, we’ve been lucky enough to see first time visits from some of the classic post-rock bands of our generation: 65daysofstatic, This Will Destroy You, Caspian and now Maybeshewill. The opportunity for us to witness such events relies on the enthusiasm with which Australia supports these acts & while we are spoilt in having a home-grown icon in sleepmakeswaves, it’s up to the folks in attendance tonight to share the word about their experience. Let’s hope we get another record and tour from these guys, music like this is just that good.
Maybeshewill – In Amber
Solkyri – Hunter
We Lost The Sea – Barkhan Charge