Quick disclaimer on this one; one half of this blog is the creative talent behind Mt. Augustus, the other half of this blog is the author of this review however, so no bias I swear.
This was the debut performance of so-called 'Brisbane super group' Rooftop Nightwatch. Sporting members of John Steele Singers and Roman History, I had reasonably high expectations for the band, however I was blown away by how tight the band was for their first show. Visibly nervous about their debut, the band showcased a sound somewhere in between alternative-country and indie-pop and came off something akin to The Lucksmiths or Augie March. Having said that, they didn't stick with any one formula for a song. The constant switching of instruments and vocalists (Pat E and Melissa both sung beautifully) left each track feeling as fresh as the previous. While there were stand out songs, the lack of titles as of yet makes them hard to identify; the second song (which the band claims was an attempt to channel Burt Bacharach)was an excellent piece of pop songwriting, while a later track had Pat M switching bass for guitar and producing a sound Stephen Stills would be envious of. With such an excellent start for the band I can only see Rooftop Nightwatch becoming a scene staple.
Mt Augustus kicked off with 'The Warmest Winter', a track which is my favourite of the bands, and proved straight off the mark why they are one of the best bands kicking it around Brisbane at the moment. Cam vocals sound like some sort of unholy union of Jeff Magnum and Gareth Liddiard, while Pat E (also of the aforementioned Rooftop Nightwatch), Daniel, and Simon, back him up with a sound that channels but never clones the sound of the bands main influences, Neutral Milk Hotel and Okkervil River. The bands set was almost chronological, with earlier tracks such as 'Edith' and 'Mt Augustus' being brought out earlier. Towards the end of the set the band delved into tracks of their new EP, Monolith. It was hard to pick my favourite songs of the night, however new track 'Club Soda', the epic 'Reverend Storm', and the musical saw-accompanied '12 Hour Trip' were all excellent.
Keep an eye out for a review of Mt Augustus' Monolith EP. as soon as I can get my hands on the damned thing!