The Smokestack Orchestra, New Jack Rubys, Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade @ The Troubadour (02.08.08)
Last night saw an explosion of psychedelic blues rock with three of Brisbane's loudest bands doing their thing in the small confines of The Troubadour.
First up was Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, a band who seem to develop exponentially each time they play. Their combination of sixties-style blues rock (especially Big Brother & The Holding Company) and the sound of the desert rock bands of mid nineties. The most obvious standout of this five piece is vocalist Sabrina Lawrie, whose vocals are some of the most intense I've heard from any singer. Unfortunately, during this set, her vocals were too low in the mix and didn't cut through the music like they usually do. On the bright side, this technical fault meant that the rest of the band were able to showcase their increasing musical skill. Guitarist's Will O'Brien and Byron Dean had some excellent riffs and winding solos in their repertoire, while the rhythm section of Pete O'Brien on bass and Jordan Miller on drums had the punters go-go dancing around the Troubadour. 'Gifthorse' and 'Only Say It Once' were set highlights with their soaring vocals and breakneck rhythms, but the newer tracks Little Vegas were also a sign of how quickly this band can potentially grow.
The ever entertaining New Jack Ruby's were next. Their Cream-via-Mudhoney noise has a way of turning the listener comatose for 3 and a half minute, with the inability to focus on anything but the music. Older songs like 'Warship Colossus and Me' and 'Silver Tongue' were pulled off excellently, while new songs like 'Big! Sexy! Party!' show that the New Jack's aren't going to be taking their collective foot off the accelerator anytime soon. Closing song 'Tesla Coil' proved to be the highlight of the night however. Sounding like The Drones fronted by Nick Cave, drummer Doug's doom-laden monologue and apocalyptic vocals perfectly complement the screaming guitars and organ.
Headliners The Smokestack Orchestra are a band I hadn't previously had the chance to see previously. While song's like 'Girl' and 'The Wreck', as well as a cover of Dr. Dre and Tupac's 'California Love' (Or possibly Ronnie Hudson's 'West Coast Poplock' seeing as they only sung the lines sampled from that song') pleased the crowd, I personally was a little underwhelmed. Smokestack Orchestra's clean-cut blues-rock came off a little tame after Little Vegas' and New Jack Ruby's psych-freak outs. The band were undoubtedly tight, however, with Tal Wallace doing his best Joe Cocker impersonation vocally, Dean Hunt channeling the style of late 60's Jimmy Page, and Skritch (of Mary Trembles) banging away joyfully at the skins (he didn't stop grinning once!). Thus my opinion is torn on this band. While I constantly hoped for them to get a little messier as I heard the faint undertones of Hüsker Dü and Big Star, maybe on a different night I would have enjoyed the clean ring of their Led Zeppelin-style blues riffs. Smokestack Orchestra are definitely one for my "seek a second opinion"-pile.