Jun 11, 2007

South By Inner West Festival

On a cold and wintry sunday Sydney night, the Annandale Hotel played host to the South By Inner West Festival. 6 (it was to be seven but Bright Yellow had to cancel) Australian (and one from New Zealand) bands for $20 represented good value and was a good way to enjoy a night that led into today's Public Holiday. Although the venue was nowhere closed to being filled, I think all those who attended received value for money and would have walked away with an overall feeling of satisfaction. Without doubt the highlight was the last band to enter the stage. W.A.'s The Panda Band were outstanding. Their intoxicating blend of melodic pop and spaced out guitar riffs was a perfect way to end the night. Playing a set full of songs from 2006's "This Vital Chapter" I really enjoyed that the songs were given more scope in the live setting. Often elongated and enhanced the music really took off and left a lasting impression. Definite highlights were an incendiary "We've Got The Face Of The Earth" and the addictive closer "Eyelashes". They also threw in a cover of The Ronettes' classic "Be My Baby". Oh, and Damian Crosbie's voice is quite a weapon, full of range and depth, it really filled the room.

Set List
Then You Appear
High In Your Saddle
Musical Chairs
Sleepy Little Deathtoll Town
Ghosts Have The Best Time
A Call To Your Arms
We've Got The Face Of The Earth
Be My Baby
Signing Off

I had seen The Waysiders at the Essential Festival and really enjoyed their set that day. So I was looking forward to seeing them again. They remind me of those classic American Indie rock bands of the 80/90's. Think a touch of Superchunk or Pavement. Their music is full of rhythmical drumming, snappy guitar riffs and deadpan singing. It just sounds cool and puts a smile on your face. These lads can really write a catchy pop tune. I look forward to watching their progress. "Gilded City" is a particularly favourite song.

Sydney's The Mares were the first band up. They impressed me greatly. Having just released their first EP, I think they have a bright future. The recent addition of a fourth member has really enhanced their sound. Driving guitars, intricate melodies were in plentiful supply. And the singer has a strong voice which fills the room. Although a bit shouty at times, the potential to develop with time is definitely there. A band to keep an eye on.

A quick summary of the other bands I watched. Melbourne's Moscow Schoolboy had a big powerful sound going but it felt a little too much like 80's hair rock for me and thus I found it difficult to make any connection. Three piece The Shake Up were energetic with their three chord garage rock. But this genre I find pretty limiting, so whilst they played with joy and passion, I found the music to be very derivative. I have heard many good things about Kiwis Cut Off Your Hands and whilst they played with admirable panache, flair (very nice matching black outfits) and gusto, I think that this trendy style of music (dance infused rock) just leaves me cold these days. They certainly were popular with the audience. Just not for me, I'm afraid.


  • At June 14, 2007 , Anonymous Karen said...

    The Panda Band WERE great. I was a bit bummed they didn't play Lovely Shoulders, but that's just being overly fussy. They always bring it live, and I think they're the sort of band you can only appreciate fully once you have seen them live.

    The crowd was also a bit disappointing. I hope they don't drop the idea next year.


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