Live Review: Died Pretty, Loose Pills, Fabels

5 March 2016 | 2:22 pm | Ross Clelland

“Thank you for coming - don’t know when we’ll see you again.”

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A hometown warm-up gig/shakedown cruise as they prepare for a run of winery festival shows brought out the Died Pretty faithful - and a fair contingent of the royal and ancient order of late 20th century band t-shirts.

The lineup covered a range, but fitted. The interesting tension of Fabels – swirls and squalls of guitar and bass undercut with some clockwork krautrock. It might work better in smaller room lit by candles, but can be hypnotic.

Loose Pills work on a bigger beat. There’s old-school powerpop, and Flamin’ Groovies harmonies. Get Drunk Play Records is an anthem and mission statement. Although the newer All The World’s A Stage is the sort of sturdy construction Vanda & Young would have handed to Stevie Wright for career resurrection.

Sporadic regroupings mean Died Pretty have never squandered their goodwill. They rise to such occasions. The sinewy Desperate Hours eases into a set that covers a range of their territories. Stoneage Cinderella more jagged, the smart alternative pop of Stop Myself or D.C., to the unsettling romance of Sweetheart. And the idiosyncratic spectacle of them: Ron Peno swivelling across the stage – part Iggy, part escapee caught in a spotlight, part crooner, part frill-necked lizard in a three-piece suit. Brett Myers pouring out those soaring guitar lines through and around John Hoey’s keyboard whirlpools. Peno and Myers sometimes strained relationship seems past. They smile, link arms, mock wrestle, encouraging each other. Or maybe they’re just trying to recall the words.

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The encore Everybody Moves remains just a helluva song in that list of tunes that should have been enormo-hits. A final Final Twist sees Peno linger onstage “Thank you for coming - don’t know when we’ll see you again.” But you – and it seems they - hope you will.