Tue 30 Oct 2012
Chickstock IV Review, 27/10/12
I had no idea what to expect from this gig. I hadn’t been to any of the previous Chickstocks and it was my first time at the venue, which was the Den. I began to feel slightly uncomfortable looking at the ages of people around the room. I hoped I was looking like a supportive big brother, rather than the seedy guy at the back, who kind of needed a shave.
The first act up was Bronwyn Halley, playing a few acoustic numbers. After a bit of a false start which was probably brought on by nerves she ripped into the classic 'Wagon Wheel'. She sung with a sweet voice, and the longer she was on stage the more comfortable she came across.
Next up were the five piece Perpetual Button. Noticing their line-up included a sax and trombone, I was quite interested to hear what they sounded like. I wasn’t disappointed, though I did kind of miss a vocalist, or somebody introducing songs. Their cover of the Gorillaz track ‘Clint Eastwood’ was a highlight and a bit of a nostalgia trip for me. I was pleased when they invited a singer up for a couple of songs too.
The third act up was The Sleeves opening their set with a cover of the Zuttons (not Amy Winehouse) song 'Valerie'. The first thing I noticed was how strong the singers were, the harmonies were really effective. They also played the second Gorillaz cover of the night, ‘Feel good Inc.’ I quite liked their version. They then played a couple original songs, which I thought although perhaps slightly cliché, were well written and certainly well executed.
Levi Kelly was next, dropping the volume a bit with another acoustic set. Levi was the first act of the night to play all originals, this impressed me. The songs were well crafted and sung with a mature voice. I found his last song, 'I’m a fighter' to have a slightly different vibe. It reminded me of Ben Harper, and was definitely my favourite of the set.
Missing their lead guitarist, Joker Promotion & The Solution ripped into their set anyway. They were a little loose to start with but got better as the set went on. I heard the guitar intro to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, and thought “Oh no, they're not.. please no”, Don't get me wrong, I love the song, but its soo overdone and nobody can do it justice. But just as I thought this, something very surprising happened, the singer started singing the vocals to Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean.’ I thought this was very clever mash up, and a good choice to get the audience’s attention. They moved swiftly into a white stripes cover and finished on quite a catchy original.
Next up was the very talented Miriam Buhler. She began her set playing two originals with just an acoustic guitar. I really liked her voice, it came across as quite mature and kind of reminded of someone like PJ Harvey. She next invited some friends up to play a few covers, and even showed the audience her skill on the harmonica. I liked her choice of covers which included The Doors ‘Riders on the Storm’. She also put her own spin on them. Very classy.
After a short speech from Jess, the coordinator of the event, Cookies and Cream took to the stage, they started a little sloppy, and with not such a good mix, but fortunately half way through the first song, an amp turned up, and with this, the whole band seemed to tighten up and was sounding much better. Towards the end of their set, they played a couple of awesome covers, ‘Fly Away’ by Lenny Kavits, where they really started to sound tight, and ‘I'll Stick Around’ by the Foo Fighters.
Taking control of the stage next was Impact, playing a mix of covers and originals. I found the vocalist quite versatile, doing great imitations of Kurt Cobain and Serj Tankian, though at times it did feel a little forced. I really would have loved to hear a bass guitar in there but the band still played well, and had a well written original called ‘The Struggle.’
Next up was former AMPED band Crisis, playing a set of original instrumentals. The drum and bass had a really good groove going on. One of the tightest bands of the night. I particularly liked a song I think titled ‘Wumpa Fruit Zero’. It had a sweet breakdown in it, which had some cool effects on the bass. Again, I would have loved for a vocalist to provide some more melody, but hey, different strokes for different folks.
The 10th band of the night was, the FarqVards, playing a set of covers. I actually really enjoyed this band. I don’t think I've ever seen a band have such good choice in covers. Nirvana's ‘Drain You’ was a highlight, they nailed the breakdown, and I was quite impressed with the guitarists control over the feedback. They looked a little stagnant on stage but played a very enjoyable set all the same.
I was really looking forward to seeing this next band. OUSA battle of the band winners A Distant City were the tightest and also loudest band so far. Their use of dynamics was great. At one point the singer asked a friend up on stage, and performed a pre-rehearsed dance. He then got into the crowd and moshed around for a bit, it may have seemed a little contrived but it sure did the trick; the crowd got right into it. Another great set.
Second to last was Seaton. This time playing without their singer. I overheard the band discussing next to me about what to do, unsure of whether to go without vocals or hold off and wait for their singer to arrive.“Lets just F***ing play” said one member. An admirable attitude I thought. With no introductions or vocals I wasn’t quite sure of what I was listening to the whole time, but I enjoyed a Rage Against The Machine cover, and also a blues number which showed off some guitar skills.
Last but certainly not least were Astro Children, who I've already seen quite a few times this year, but definitely didn’t mind seeing them again. They played a stellar set, and it was quite apparent how much experience they’ve got behind them this year.
And that was it. A very long but enjoyable gig. The organisers did an awesome job of setting this gig up. The AMPED Music Project is such a great thing for these young bands. I genuinely do look forward to seeing more from them, and I would most definitely recommend checking out the next Chickstock!
By Kris Furer