Aug 15, 2009

Charge Group @ Hopetoun Hotel

Well, the wait was certainly worth it. My first time in seeing Charge Group turned into a rich and rewarding experience. This band had released my favourite Australian album of last year in "Escaping Mankind", but until Friday night I had missed opportunities to see them live, for various reasons. So, a night at the Hopetoun was hard to resist. Especially as it was going to be the band's last Australian show for quite a while, perhaps a year, as they head overseas to ply their trade and show the world their talent.

So, why were they so special? It's many things. Their music is complex and nuanced. It is subtle and full of texture. It can be powerful at times, but most of all it can be downright bloody beautiful. Their music has a strong and deep emotional pull. The elements that separate the merely good from the truly great. Naturally they played a slew of tunes from "Escaping Mankind", but they also threw in a few new songs. They opened with one in "Hearth" which was long and languid, but also containing a certain power. I also loved "Search Party", which was downright heavy at times. But it was the songs I was closely familiar with that resonated the most strongly. "The Contest" was a sumptuous beast, whilst "Redcoats & Convicts" was a true statement of subtle beauty. But the absolute highlight was the stunningly gorgeous "Vice'd" which opened with a slew of harmonies, before leading into a deep emotional rush. This was truly superb. The band were all great. Despite the usual state of not absolute stellar sound, all the instruments could be heard clearly in the mix, combining with seemingly little effort. Matt Blackman led the way with strong guitar work and a voice that is earnest and solid and oh so human. It makes a strong connection. The drumming by Matt Rosetti was robust and also delicate, providing a strong base alongside the bass of Adam Jesson. The key ingredient in the mix though is the superb violin playing of Jason Tampake, ranging from mournful to ecstatic and back again. So, it was a great night of intelligent and meaningful music. When Charge Group make their way back home, make sure you see them.

Set List
The Contest
Lunar Module
Speakeasy Death Song
Redcoats & Convicts
Search Party
Morning Of Superheroes
Lullaby For The Apocalypse


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