Nov 12, 2011

The Gate

For a while now the suburbs of Northern Sydney have been treated to small and intimate shows showcasing some of the best musical talent that Australia has to offer. The Gate is a not-for-profit initiative that started with a backyard show in Ryde in July 2010 and has been going strong since. Started by all round good guy Joe Hardy, the venture debuted in a new space Friday night in a warehouse in Artarmon. The new space provides for an environment that can sustain bands regularly without bothering neighbours with that pesky noise problem. The space holds about 120 people and they sure received value for money on Friday night.

First there was singer/songwriter N. Martin who charmed with his melodic tunes on an acoustic guitar. His original tunes were great, but he also threw in some covers by Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles. Second up were local heroes Valar, a five piece that were eclectic and varied in musical styles and influences. Armed with interesting times signatures and disarming melodies, they thoroughly impressed. It was possible to hear anything from Coltrane to Radiohead in their music. Next up were the truly great Charge Group. This was my third time seeing them this year and they seem to get better and better. Whether it is great older tunes like "Lunar Module" or new stormers like "Run" they take charge of the stage and own it. They are truly an incredible band who hopefully are destined for bigger times. Can't wait for album number two in early 2012.

Unfortunately we didn't stay for headliner Aleks & the Ramps. A combination of a big week, travel home and a big weekend coming up meant that we decided to make an early exit. From past experience I know this band is great though and I eagerly await their soon to be released second album. So, it was a great night. There is something truly rewarding witnessing a DIY, hand made night. A night about the music and not the pyrotechnics. A night run on passion, dedication and energy. And I must say despite the homegrown surroundings, the set up was very professional. The sound was a perfect mix with clarity and definition. Would definitely put some bigger venues to shame.
So, if in the future you are looking for a night of cutting edge music without paying a lot of money check out a night with The Gate.

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