The Gig: The Laurels with The Demon Parade and The Priory Dolls
Where: Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
When: 25 September 2010
In One Word: Stoned
Okay, just a quick clarification of this article’s “In One Word” description: No, your honour, I had not partaken of any illicit substances prior to this evening’s show; indeed, due to current lack of finances, I didn’t even have a single fucking DRINK all night! But this evening’s entertainment was more than enough to put me into a comparable state, and I’m sure some of the muso’s tonight had partaken of something or other before hitting the stage. Now on with the friggin’ review…
The Priory Dolls are a young bunch – fuck me, the lead singer/guitarist looks barely fourteen! – but I must say, they definitely do rock some. Stoner/shoegazer rock with a heavy 90s Brit influence: The aforementioned singer manages a very credible “detached” vocal performance that evokes said time and place, suggesting he has led an awfully jaded life for someone who’s yet to finish Year 12 (boy, they do grow up quickly these days)! But I’m just being bitter…these guys (and girl) are actually pretty talented, and the presence of “trippy” keyboards and a fantastically dynamic rhythm section doesn’t hurt…man, that girl beats the hell out of her drums, and the bass player has stage presence to burn. Especially love the song that starts off sounding like Pornography-era Cure, at least until the spell was broken by the vocalist opening his mouth and NOT sounding like Robert Smith. Oh well. Still, I wish them the best of luck in this crazy game called “rock ‘n’ roll”, and hope that the singer finds the time to do his homework and make his mum and dad proud by finishing high school.
Next up is The Demon Parade, and while they evidently share some of the same influences, they’re a bit older and take their stage cues as much from the Seattle scene of that era as they do anything British. They certainly know how to work up a sweat, and give a few dance-happy members of the audience a decent cardio workout while they’re at it. They also have one heck of a lighting show to accompany their fuzzed-up atmospherics, and oh…they sound fucking magnificent. That’s all I really ask out of a live band: To give me a decent visual show, and sound good whilst doing it. Easy, right? Then HOW COME SO FEW BLOODY BANDS CAN ACTUALLY MANAGE THIS?! Just as long as this current “90’s revival” doesn’t stretch into recycling stuff from the latter part of that decade, when it all went seriously to shit.
The final band up are The Laurels, and continuing the theme for tonight: More stoner rock… oh, and another girl drummer! Again, they sound great, doing arguably as much with their four-piece line-up as the last two bands did with larger ones, but the visual thrills are a little leaner this time around. Not that the aforementioned Seattle influence has entirely gone away – one of the two singer-guitarists even wears a green-and-yellow striped sweater-y thing – but energetic stage antics are decidedly thin on the ground. Still, I’ve seen many a band stiffer than this one, which doesn’t necessarily excuse this group so much as it indicts the whole lazy-arsed modern music scene, really. And in their defense, their sound is definitely one that is more ploddingly moody than playfully manic, so perhaps it’s an apt enough performance after all…just not one that demands to be witnessed, I’m afraid. Expect they’d be terrific on record, and full points for having the balls to follow the infinitely more visually intense Demon Parade on-stage.
A fine show all around, ladies and gents. Bravo! (Anyone got a spare spliff on ’em?)
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Pictures of The Demon Parade at Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne: