A press release I recently received featured a quote comparing the frontman of Laneous & The Family Yah to Mike Patton, and while there’s no denying the lad’s got some amazing vocal range, the band’s overall sound has arguably more to do with the musical lineage of a group like Mr. Bungle than the Patton-fronted band itself: To my mind, this is what Zappa and his Mothers would have sounded like if they had succumbed more fully to their “funkier” side. Laneous himself takes a little while to loosen up and take the nervous hands out of his pockets, but once he does so this is not only an aural but visual powerhouse of a band…and call me sleazy, but I’ve always been rather partial to the whole two-sexy-girls-as-slinky-backup-singers thang. Special “props” also to the awesomely talented and dynamic drummer, and wild ‘n’ wacky synth player…not to take anything whatsoever away from the note-perfect bass and guitar players, but such dudes always get plenty of attention in this industry, so when the more “marginalised” instruments stand out so loud and proud I seriously wanna sing their praises. Oh, and the singer dude also happens to play a pretty mean guitar on a couple of the later songs…bloody show-off! Brilliant stuff, and funky as a motherfucker.
Rat Vs Possum may well have one of the stupidest names I’ve heard in quite an aeon, but they’re a fucking killer band. Joyously intense, borderline-instrumental “indie” music with stacks of keyboards and an absolute shitload of drums! Tunes to put your feet on the dancefloor and your head way, way up in the clouds. Fooking magic.
Regurgitator have been around a while – have become somewhat of an Australian music “institution”, you might say – and the heated anticipation of the crowd speaks loudly of this tonight. A “Gurge, Gurge, Gurge” chant even briefly starts up somewhere, shortly after drummer Pete Kostic puts the finishing touches to his own kit set-up (“big” they may be, but these boys never lost that spirit of “DIY”). Unlike most bands to gain such local-legend status, however, it’s great to see that “The ‘Gurge” have not mellowed with age…far from it. They still bounce around with youthful abandon, in spite of the fact that they are a good bit older than many of the people in Da House this evening (old enough to have even fathered some of the teenagers present, methinks)!
My apologies, by the by, for the “rappism” in the last paragraph, but this is one band that have always managed to make hip-hop seem way cooler than it has any right to. For the uninitiated, though, The ‘Gurge play oh-so-much more than “just” hip-hop…to be sure, they have always been “genre magpies”, tackling any and all musical styles that they see fit: Synth-pop, punk, funk, disco, jangly guitar rock, groove-based metal riffage; if it’s remotely danceable, chances are these lads have tried it at one time or another. Tonight they play as good an assortment from their twenty-odd year career as any fan could hope for, though I’ll freely admit it’s the shit from their early EPs and first album that please this old (okay: “ageing”) fan the most…fuck me, they even play “Pop Porn”, the glorious bastards! And while I admit I didn’t, ahem, “get around to” buying the last couple of albums, from what I heard of ’em tonight I may have some catching up to do…
I do believe that most, if not all, of the crowd walked away very satisfied tonight: Two very excellent support bands and a “greatest hits”-y set from the headliners, who could possibly complain? Hell, we even have classic Ween album “The Mollusk” to escort us out the door. Gigs don’t get much – if indeed any – better than this.
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Pictures of Regurgitator, Rat Vs Possum and Laneous & The Family Yah at The Hi-Fi, Melbourne: