Reviewed on Thursday March 27

Small gigs are always fun, but walking into FBi Social it was a shame to find the venue more than half empty. Still, the local talent made the best of it and delivered a relaxed and intimate show.

Kicking things off, Sydneysider Karl-Christoph took to the stage with his trusty guitar and laidback charm. His understated sound layers acoustic guitar underneath gentle, raw vocals. Fans of Angus & Julia Stone and Xavier Rudd will take a liking to his chilled indie sound. Before playing ‘Lady Luck’, he revealed that when the track reached number two on the triple j Unearthed charts he thought all his “dreams were coming true”. Sadly, he lamented, “I am just still here,” which had the audience laughing, but tells a more urgent story about the Australian music scene. Karl-Christoph invited friend and fellow local musician Direwolf onstage to accompany him for what was a highlight of the evening. Here’s hoping there is more to come from him.

Taking the vibe up a notch, The Retreat took to the stage in cowboy hats and ripped denim. For those unfamiliar with their sound, imagine indie-pop with a country and western twang – in Australian accents. Having returned from a three-year hiatus, their set was impressively polished and energetic. ‘Ain’t No Prize’ had some audience members (also in hats) swaying along, while their latest release ‘After All, Tomorrow Is A New Day’ reveals a direction that is a little more indie rock than country.

Little Earthquake’s first-ever Sydney set was definitely energetic, if at times slightly out of tune, with a lot of jumping and getting up close and personal with the audience. ‘Planets’, their first release, is an infectious pop track – what else can you expect with a hook like “la-di-da-di-da, la-di da-da”? But there are also some deeper cosmic-themed lyrics, like: “This world can’t get much worse / If we’re all in rhythm with the same one verse.” Now on Rage and FBi rotation, and releasing their EP Universal Mind in the next couple of months, it is almost certainly not the last you will be hearing from them.

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