GIG REVIEW: The Music Makers Club
On the 15th of March OXFORD ART FACTORY paired with THE A&R DEPARTMENT to opened it’s doors for The Music Makers Club, a showcase night for a handful of mighty fine bands, including the likes of: THE DEAD HEADS, TAYLOR AND THE MAKERS, HARTS, SHADOWS AT PLAY, THE SUN AND THE SKY, and EM GEORGE.
Opening the doors at 8 -with Em George first taking to the stage at 8.20pm- the six performers performed 20 minutes snippet sets each, ending the night at 12am. This showcase style allowed the acts to give the audience in attendance an impression of their sensibilities, their sound and their live performance styles; with all the acts proving to be strong and entertaining performers. In the end I walked away from this event totally encouraged by capacity that these acts performed at. There was an undeniable confidence and enjoyment exhibited by those on the stage, a style that is so constantly shown by bands in this country when they get a chance to perform in the dwindling amount of live music venues in Sydney, so much so that is continually hard to see why live music venues catering to the younger local bands seems to be struggle the way that it seems to be.
As far as The Music Makers Club is concerned, all act put on brilliant shows, so here are my responces to their performances in order of their sets.
Emily Anne George is a singer-songwriter from Sydney. Drawing on influences such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed and Otis Redding, as well as writers Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg and Truman Capote, Emily writes songs that reflect the absurdities of life, with an introspective quality to her music. The attitudes and influences of Em George are unsurprising when witness to her set, there is a delicacy but a strength to her presence. It is an interesting style of performance and one I am intrigued by.
THE SUN AND THE SKY
The Sun and the Sky is a 4-piece indie synth rock band formed in Adelaide in early 2011. In contrast to the more introspective Em George, The Sun and the Sky seem to be all about making you get lost in the strange movements of jumping and dance. Combining the sounds of post-punk and dance music the band have built a supremely fun sound, one seemingly made for performances in sweaty people filled halls.
SHADOWS AT PLAY
Continuing the high energy were Shadows A Play, a multi instrumental four piece with guitars, ukuleles, harmonica, trumpet, piano, and drums which shape their folk/rock sound. While it is shocking the amount of instruments the band can deviate between, their personality and the sense of joy shines through as just as an impressive aspect.
Following on from Shadows at Play was a particular favorite of the site, Harts. This was also the moment where my website co-writer Ben joined me at Oxford Art Factory. He has never encountered Harts before but he was so hyper exchited by this set, he basically threw his phone down his pants and took over our twitter for a few moments. But in all honesty this guy is a show stopper, or owner? He owned the night. The guy comes on stage with nothing but two mics, a keyboard, a beat-pad a guitar and himself and he just gave everything you could imagine he would have for twenty minutes straight. You almost gte the feeling that Harts is in some way an incarnation of the musical stylings of, dare I say it, Dev Hynes and Prince.
If you are familiar with Harts music you would know there are a lot of sounds at play, at any given moment, but the songs were never over done, even with the guy humping the stage and performing cock-wielding guitar solos through half the set there were still sweeter quiet moments to level the highs. Given the short time frame it was surprising the guy could show this much range while never being disjointed.
TAYLOR AND THE MAKERS
Taylor and The Makers were debuting a new guitarist tonight and when they guys introduced their new member the camaraderie and friendship amongst the group was palpable. This is a totally likeable band whose personality was nicely expressed to the audience, giving a house-party type vibe to the viewing experience. You were made to feel like you were all included in the fun being had onstage. But obviously being likeable is kinda useless if you don’t have the tunes, and these guys have the music. The vocals were immaculate, and some of the strongest of the night and with the songs, a sun-soaked combination of beacky-folk and laid back rock, gelling perfectly with the entire vibe.
THE DEAD HEADS
The Dead Heads are a 6 piece garage psych pop rock hippie grunge shoe-gaze band formed around brothers Oscar and Ali. The final act for the night, the guys provided a grimey ‘let’s fucking party’ vibe that was no doubt assisted by their penchant for sneering affectionately at their audience between songs. This is also the band of hair, by that I mean, with a mob-top and a glorious mullet this was the band with the rockiest hair. By mentioning the vibe and the personality of the band I simply mean to express that this was a band that are their vibe, they wear their personality and their sensibility just as much as they play it with their music. I had no doubt that this band were genuinely being their clearest selves on stage. And when something is as genuine as this band come across it’s easy to get swept up in their performance.
Overall, this was a great night full of acts I would easily want to see perform again, if only for longer than 20 minutes.
Words by Luke Letourneau