"It’s the last night off the East Brunswick All Girls Choir’s month-long residency at The Old Bar and they tell everyone to stay around for a drink."
It’s freezing outside and The Old Bar is packed. Fraser A Gorman plays first and people stand on chairs at the back of the room to get a better look. Gorman plays boppy guitar-pop and engages in comic banter with the crowd. He starts to play Broken Hands before enthusiastically telling us that it was played on The Footy Show that night. “I’ve made it!” he says. From now on if you want to find him he’ll be on a yacht in Spain.
The venue is full of people who seem to know one another. There is a community feeling in the air and no one seems concerned that it’s Monday tomorrow. Bendigo band Shadow Casters are up next, playing gritty pub-rock with a country edge. BJ Morriszonkle follows them, bringing cinematic intensity to the evening with his odd, eclectic compositions. He leaves half the crowd confused and the other half enthralled.
Out comes East Brunswick All Girls Choir. The four-piece, none of whom have ever lived in East Brunswick, don’t say much before they roar into their first track. Marcus Hobbs has wailing vocals that sound like Alec Ounsworth from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (only scarier). They play Darius and Hobbs’ wail shines as he sings about needing to find new friends. Drummer Jen Sholakis proudly displays a Western Bulldogs beanie from her kit; they won tonight, so she’s happy. The band work as a cohesive whole, no one element outshining the other. They play West Brunswick and it sounds looser than the recorded version. Hobbs and Sholakis engage in teasing sibling-like banter throughout the night. Hobbs tells her she’s playing subpar and Sholakis ‘kicks him out of the band’. Bassist Rie Nakayama stands centre stage; she has a very slight smile on her face for the entire set and looks completely transfixed by the music. Guitarist Robert Wrigley is stoic, remaining calm even after a string breaks and he has to play the last two songs without it.
The band play Dirty Bird and it feels like a force pushing us backwards; it is aggressive, raw and thick. The crowd all sway back and forth, nodding their heads to the beat. The music then becomes too fast and dirty to keep up with up, and we become still.
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It’s the last night off the East Brunswick All Girls Choir’s month-long residency at The Old Bar and, as the band leave the stage, they tell everyone to stay around for a drink.