Reviewed on Friday April 4
There’s something unsettling and uncharacteristic about being in the dark, smoky surrounds of Goodgod before, say, nine o’clock at the earliest. Then again, tonight’s show was all about flipping the proverbial script – and it began just shy of 8pm with Angie; a band which is impossible to Google and even harder to describe. The eponymous frontwoman – Garrick, that is; of Circle Pit, Straight Arrows and Ruined Fortune – is reserved and calm while dissonant guitar pierces through the speakers. They don’t quite expand beyond the sum of their parts, but clearly show potential.
It’s one thing to give off a nonchalant slacker vibe. It’s another to have it almost have your set crumble at the foundations – as is the case with Day Ravies. Whilst not usually a tight musical outfit per se, the Sydney natives are usually a bit more together than tonight, when sharp tunings and rhythmic falling-outs stunt what could have been a great performance, reducing it to merely passable. Still, there’s always next time.
“I know I smell like petrol…” the grumbling voice of Don Walker rings out over the PA, a pre-recorded taping of his poetry from Carpetbombing’s opening number, ‘The Closing Of The Day’. Goodgod – perhaps for the first time ever – is reduced to a stunned silence. Such is the power of Harmony, the unclassifiable and seemingly unstoppable Melbourne collective back in Sydney for the first time since September.
For those who have never seen the band in action, it’s an exercise in striking and bold contrast – the guitar squeaks and snarls over rumbling bass and thudding drums, while the three backing vocalists add daunting, morose melodies. It’s a particular balance, and one that has well and truly been struck on Carpetbombing, from which the bulk of tonight’s set is lifted. ‘Do Me A Favour’ ignites a fire in the belly, while tracks like ‘Big Ivan’ and ‘Water Runs Cold’ attempt to find some method in the madness, encompassing both the calm and the storm. Finishing an all-too-brief set with a rousing ‘Fourteen’ from their self-titled 2011 debut, Harmony tonight prove to be triumphant at finding strange beauty in odd places.