Live Review: Day Ravies, Thigh Master, Primitive Motion, Martyr Privates, The Goon Sax

26 October 2015 | 9:36 am | Steve Bell

"[Day Ravies] too establish a fine groove from the outset, their dreamy brand of shoegaze-infused pop-rock light but impenetrable."

The big bill of bands on offer equates to an early kick-off tonight and up-and-comers The Goon Sax are tapped to take the plunge first, showing great resilience to shake off early microphone troubles (not of their making) and deliver another growingly confident set of sturdy-slash-fragile indie rock ruminations. Their slightly shambolic sensibility seems to get tighter with each outing and the relaxed understanding between co-frontmen James Harrison and Louis Forster more intuitive, the trio slotting in strong new number Vale Street before signing off with slyly effervescent recent single Sometimes Accidentally.

Local rockers Martyr Privates seem to have been laying low since unveiling their eponymous debut album a year or so back but have returned better for the spell, sounding awesome from the get-go and maintaining it for the duration. Frontman Cameron Hawes cuts a commanding presence, the band's music morosely uplifting — like finally emerging into daylight after recuperating from a long funk — as they dabble eloquently in repetition, slow build and distortion, dousing everything liberally in punchy hooks and melody.

The pairing that is Primitive Motion prove nothing if not versatile, seeming to conjure a slightly different mood with every performance without ever straying too far from their eclectic template. Leighton Craig holds things down behind the keys while Sandra Selig brings diversity to their avant-garde instrumental leanings, the duo typically adventurous as their strange forays twist and turn and stop off at all manner of unusual destinations en route to their requisitely cruisy destination. Their compositions drag you in slowly but once they have you in their grip it's like trying to escape cartoon quicksand, the tropical vistas flighty but thoroughly immersive.

A slight shift in order due to the running sheet becoming lost in the ether finds Sydney indie interlopers Day Ravies up next, the foursome in town to launch their second long-player, Liminal Zones. They too establish a fine groove from the outset, their dreamy brand of shoegaze-infused pop-rock light but impenetrable, with their short-and-sharp songs possessing plenty of texture and shade. The alternating vocals of Lani Crooks (keys) and Caroline de Dear (bass) — plus occasional interjections from guitarist Sam Wilkinson — are buried deep in the mix of these lush soundscapes and the variance these changes provide is pronounced but never jarring, with songs like Fake Beaches and Hickford Whizz transferring wonderfully to the live setting. It's all jubilant, albeit slightly discordant, indie rock with the occasional jagged edge punching through the otherwise velvet surrounds, and the strong crowd laps up the accomplished offerings with smiles and tapping feet and happy vibes the order of the evening.

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That just leaves the ever-altruistic Thigh Master — who'd swapped spots with the interstate visitors to allow them pole position for their launch — to show off their considerable wares to bring things home, the four-piece thrilling a thinning crowd with their punchy and discordant brand of rock'n'roll. This music is miles removed from 'soul music' but there's just so much soul to this music, their uncompromisingly guitar-heavy sound rife with nuance and earworms and frontman Matt Ford proving a charismatic and compelling totem. They smash through a handful of tracks then stop suddenly, a sadly abridged but stupendously awesome way to conclude proceedings on a night that kicked goals from the very first bar, a rare show that proves all killer and no filler.