by Carl Dziunka
On a chilly Saturday night in Melbourne, there’s no better place to find yourself than in a warm venue listening to some hot bands. That’s how it was at the Northcote Social Club were the Laughing Outlaw Record label were showcasing four of the bands.
First up was Wilding to show us their wares.
Justin Wilding Stokes, the lead singer, came dressed as someone who wouldn’t have been out of place on a 60’s music show. This gave an insight as to what style of music we were about to receive, and they didn’t disappoint.
The only disappointment was there wasn’t a huge crowd to enjoy their set, but the ones who had made it were given a great introduction of what’s in their catalogue. As they knocked out “The day I let you pass me by,” “Alopecia,” “Up on Lavender Hill,” the small crowd were starting to loosen and legs were starting to twitch to the rhythms.
On “I’ll love you until Monday Morning”; the lead track off the new album “Birds Bread”, Stokes even started bursting out some moves himself.
Her instrumental breaks had the small Melbourne crowd hypnotized. With Tom Morgan on bass and Sarah McEwan on drums, it was a tight knit group that showed they were very comfortable with their arrangement
The introduction of nearly every song was a dedication to some person in their circle of friends which made each song more personalized. Nischang really opened up towards the end of the ser by dropping to her knees and really squeezing every last riff out of her guitar. When Morgan asked for the curtain to be closed to end the set, we wondered what could follow this to keep the night alive with the infectious rhythms we’ve already experienced.
The Autumn Isles came onto the small stage and we knew from the first chord our musical appetite was going to be once again satisfied.
The 5 piece, who hail from Perth, weren’t too impressed by the coldness of the Melbourne weather, but they certainly warmed our hearts. Looking similar to a 60’s group with fashion and sound, they played a set that was passionate, timeless and rewarded the now growing crowd to a highly polished set of tunes, some of which were taken from their debut album Kaleidoscopes.
The front man, singer and guitarist, Alex Alpino, started to get the crowd moving when he coaxed people into dancing with the promise of a free CD. Singing “Into December” a couple started gyrating in front of the stage while the rest of us just twitched our legs not wanting to take the spotlight off the brave couple. Inhibitions seemed to have been broken now because more movement from the crowd as the fabulous Autumn Isles let fly with “Just like the others” and “If your love is blind.” This is a set we didn’t want to stop.
The last showcase of the night belonged to Mikelangelo and the Tin Star.
A Melbourne group, he was playing to his home crowd and it was obvious that it was he they had come to see. After thanking the previous acts on the bill and having some jovial banter with the crowd, the set started with a 50’s inspired guitar n’ western sound.
Before the start of the second song, Mikelangelo introduced his brother to come on stage who hid away in the corner of the stage to play guitar. Again, his fashion was 60’s influenced with the hair style and dark glasses with the look of a young Bill Wyman.
Mikelangelo was busily rearranging the stage at this point and getting tangled in the many leads around him. The salmon coloured jacket had to come off and then it was into another catchy number that had the crowd moving in time with the beats and Mike started singing through 2 microphones.
This was truly an enjoyable night of music that helped release many memories of past bands who had created a huge impact in the music world. We can only hope the showcase we witnessed tonight is the next wave to cause the impact because from the show they performed, they deserve it.