Jul 19, 2008

Snowman/Baseball @ Annandale Hotel

Friday night at the Annandale Hotel was a good indication that Snowman are a unique and distinct talent on the Australian music scene. 2008 saw the Perth band release their second album "The Horse, The Rat And The Swan" to much acclaim. I find the album an unsettling listen, producing a sound that is hard to define and sometimes hard to love. But yet, it is exciting and unique. It turned out that their live show was similar. At times the music on display was intricate, powerful and persuasive. Yet, it could also be described as alienating and somewhat indulgent. This band seems to be a band that makes music to definitely please themselves. Which makes for music that is singular and exciting, although sometimes can tend to fail to make a full connection with the audience. The first time I saw this band a few years ago was as support for Interpol. I thought at the time their music was amateurish and a little repetitive. How things have changed. They have matured into a fully functioning beast. Their music is dense, melodramatic and incredibly intense. Their two strengths I believe are drummer Ross Diblasio, who is threateningly powerful, and front man Joe McKee, whose manic delivery keeps you focused on each and every song. The show seemed to be comprised of mainly songs from the latest album. They roared into their set with "Our Mother (She Remembers)" and "We Are The Plague", both setting an ominous tone. Other highlights were the powerful "Daniel Was A Timebomb" and the eerie "She Is Turning Into You". Snowman, a great Australian talent.

Even though Snowman impressed me, it was support act Baseball that blew me away. I had been longing to see them since buying their wonderful album of this year in "Animal Kingdom". I had heard that their live shows were an intense experience and this Melbourne band didn't let me down. Their music is a whirlwind of differing styles. Rhythmic drumming is fused with frenetic guitars and then this topped off by the dramatic presence of front man Thick Passage. This man with the odd name is quite the stage presence. His violin playing sets the scene, plucking it and playing it with a gorgeous style and an exhausting intensity. Often playing in a set stance, with his eyes staring in the audience, he will writhe and stalk the stage, never settling for anything less then full intensity. Then, his voice. Passionate and raw, he belts out his vocals from the deep bottom of his throat. Each song is short and to the point. Songs like "Soft Boy Factory", "The Animal Kingdom" and "Land Of Darkness-Land Of Dogs" were drama fueled and nailed to the floor. But my favourites were the atmospheric and intensely beautiful "Mozart And The Whale" and "The Wedding At Susa". Truly impressive. As was this special and wonderful band.

Set List
Gods And Stars-Priests And Kings
The Animal Kingdom
The Hospitality Song (Ode To Good Will)
Lines And Lines And Lines
It's Gonna Be Hard Work And It's Gonna Hurt
I Have Come To Ravish My Betrothed
The Wedding At Susa
Land Of Darkness - Land Of Dogs
Mozart And The Whale
Soft Boy Factory
Song Of The Righteous
Where We All End Up
Faith Like A Cross - Trust Like A Flag

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