65daysofstatic + Tangled Thoughts of Leaving + Solkyri + Trash McSweeney/Alix Kol
Manning Bar, Sydney
Tuesday March 10, 2015
It’s a cool night at Manning Bar for the return of English legends 65daysofstatic to Sydney, after over 2 years, a new record and in the midst of working on a much-hyped forthcoming video game soundtrack.
It’s nice to see an early crowd out for the acoustic guitar, violin and live painting of The Red Paintings’ Trash McSweeney and Alix Kol. They never fail to impress with their energy and attention to detail – even on a short showcase set like tonight, they are in full costume, makeup and have a human canvas being painted head to toe whilst they reel off fan favourites like ‘Walls’ and ‘Dead Children.’ While it’s nice to hear their songs again, it’s been 2 years since we saw the full band in Sydney, such has been their touring schedule overseas. Let’s hope they bring the new stage show down under soon.
Sydney post-rockers Solkyri cram themselves onto the gear-packed stage and proceed to smash out their exuberant brand of instrumental rock. Replete with now settled-in new guitarist, the four-piece deliver a well-received set of polished tracks from their debut album and the forthcoming second album. This being the last chance we see them before Europe, the set earned them a bunch of new fans, rapt at the quality of opening acts.
Perth’s Tangled Thoughts of Leaving have been along for the ride at all shows on this tour and their newly minted dark ambient sound makes them the ‘yin’ to the 65daysofstatic ‘yang’ tonight. Their sound has morphed into an almost improvised noise-rock jam, with little of the tightly structured prog-post-rock of their debut record. However, they are as immense as ever, with one’s eyes drawn to both keyboardist Ron Pollard & drummer Ben Stacy’s wild antics around their respective instruments. Bassist Luke Pollard thrashes his bass emotionally whilst guitarist Andy McDonald holds down the fort with expressive tones coaxed from his instrument. They are a band who eschew any favours to the listener, challenging and demanding attention – their set goes down well. Perhaps more than ever, you need to see this band live, before embarking on their records. It makes sense here.
Finally, before an adoring crowd on a Tuesday night, it’s 65daysofstatic time. Opening with the slow electronic build of ‘Heath Death Infinity Splitter’ from their amazing record ‘Wild Light’, the deceptively electronic-based album all of a sudden makes sense. When you see how much power and volume the band create on stage, the tracks come alive. When you see just how much of the electronic grooves are actually played by their monster drummer Rob Jones, the blips and beeps on the album are no longer just side frills to the main course – they are very much part of the rhythm and feel of this incredible band. The set list is expertly crafted, with ‘Wild Light’ well represented, as are the highlights of their career such as ‘Crash Tactics’, ‘retreat! retreat!’ and of course ‘Radio Protector.’ Guitarist Joe Shrewsbury makes humourous quips about the size of Australian bats on the University of Sydney campus, as well as their relatively pale complexion – but even his efforts don’t break the spell this audience is under. It’s the perfect venue for this band, the sound is massive yet clear and it’s a genuine pleasure to experience such a tightly crafted and perfectly executed show. Over 10 years into a storied career and it’s impressive to see this band still continuing to improve. Spread the word people, so that these guys can continue to inspire us all.