Reviewed onSaturday December 5 (photo by Ashley Mar)
OK, Manning Bar, let’s set one thing straight – having an 11-hour gig with no passouts is utterly absurd. A lot of people either couldn’t return to, or were completely turned off, an incredible day of live music. Sort your shit out.
Bird’s Robe Collective celebrated its fifth anniversary in style with a mega lineup of its local talent, in what later became known as Mikefest 2015 in honour of BRC founder Mike Solo. In fact, Solo was a point of obsession for all involved, a near-messianic figure who earned numerous song dedications.
First to the plate was Mike Mills, AKA Toehider, performing an acoustic set despite a broken nail. His cuttingly honest lyrics seemed drawn too sharply in the chilled-out setting, but what a voice.
Dream Cities saw Solo take to the drums, and they wowed with jazz-influenced guitar licks and sample-heavy, dreamlike post-rock. Pirates brought the only brass instrument of the day, an amplified saxophone, along with the first evidence of BRC’s love for polyrhythm.
Then suddenly – metal?! Yep, BRC has Mish on its roster, too, so blast beats made an appearance. The mix did them no favours and had them sounding pretty rough. All was forgiven as Captain Kickarse and The Awesomes stepped out and delivered organised chaos in a series of mental jams.
Solkyri brought the powerful performance they’re known for, inviting an enormous, swelling energy into the room. Dumbsaint diffused and balanced that energy with Pelican-style post-metal and tightly coordinated video work.
Anubis’ wandering prog left less of an impression, though their three-part harmonies were memorable. The room filled for Meniscus, described by another audience member as ‘sonic death’, which they lived up to by pounding us with a concrete wall of sound.
The floor was packed as Toehider returned with full band in tow (Solo once again gracing the kit) to deliver the most charismatic and potent rock’n’roll performance of the day. Their wild, vibrant rock gave way to the anarchic, carnivalesque metal of Troldhaugen, the dark horses of the set, who surprised with a metalcore cover of Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’.
A note of sobriety filled the crowd when we realised this would be Sleepmakeswaves guitarist Jonathan ‘Kid’ Khor’s last set with the boys, but it gave way to elation as they slammed through a grand selection of their overwhelming, euphoric instrumental rock, closing (of course) with ‘A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun’.
Long live prog, and long live Mikefest!