Live Review: Cibo Matto, Richard In Your Mind, Ben Ely

3 November 2014 | 12:42 pm | Tom Hersey

Gardening grandads and bad air bass - Cibo Matto are short, but memorable at The Zoo.

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You wanna feel as old as the hills, try rocking up to a show of a band you used to love as a kid (maybe you were a Buffy fan... no judgements), and discover that the mosh pit is a series of neatly arranged tables and chairs. And then you find that you’re more stoked than repulsed because maybe it’s late and you’re straight fanging a nice sit.

Thankfully, Ben Ely’s drummer is wearing a Poison Idea shirt so everybody can remind themselves that they’re still punk rock and haven’t entirely sold out. The Regurgitator bassist switches over to the six-string and shows off his singer/songwriter chops. He keeps things light and stays off the fuzz box, everybody in the audience probably needing a couple more Cooper’s Pale Ales in them before they start to cut loose.

Local collective Richard In Your Mind up the weirdness quotient so as to have everybody prepared for the headliners. Which is important, because, as the body ages, one is liable to hurt themselves if they don’t take the time to warm up. The quintet navigates from sitar-propelled Brian Jonestown Massacre-style psych rock to left-field electronic jams to sea shanties and straight-up folk rock.

If these guys’ set is any indication, things are about to get pretty weird. Cibo Matto take to the stage for the first time ever in Australia, and hit Sugar Water right out of the gate. And it’s hard not to get excited. Even as the band spends the bulk of the cut struggling to get the mix right, you know they’re going to be awesome as the breakbeats emanating from Yuka Honda’s laptop sound like they’re drifting off into space.
Then the quartet seems to grow more comfortable within the space; Miho Hatori starts to dance like Nas behind the mic – which is fantastic because she’s dressed like your grandad when he’s doing the gardening. Honda also steps back from her keyboard and starts to move around too.

With a catalogue only going three albums deep, it’s easy for the small crowd at the Zoo tonight to be familiar with, and get excited about, every new cut, and every genre change Cibo Matto throw at them. They can jam on funk grooves and just as easily go punk rock, or serve up the avant-garde pop of cuts like Deja Vu. They can even hit golden age hip hop perfectly – BBQ is an absolute barnstormer and an encore performance of Birthday Cake, where Hatori and Honda entertain the crowd with a display of very badly synchronised air bass – is a perfect way to close out their too-short set.

If getting old can be this enjoyable bring on the wine tastings and the dinner parties.