Live Review: Elliot The Bull, Ruby Frost, Dan & Hannah Acfield, Turner, The Modern Age

1 October 2012 | 3:19 pm | Jaye Weatherburn

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The members of Elliot The Bull have been driving their tour bus all day from their home on the Central Coast of NSW for this date with the comfortable, couchy innards of Revolver. Performing as part of their current Running With The Bull East Coast tour, tonight's gig sees them sharing the bill with four other bands, each serving up remarkably different offerings.

Kicking off is Ruby Frost, a tiny dynamo with an impressive voice, her charismatic vocals expertly accompanied by a rocking drummer. The two make a sparse but striking musical statement of hipster-blended, '80s-style pop. Dan & Hannah Acfield provide an instant change of pace with their homespun campfire tunes and gorgeous harmonies, complete with between-song banter suggesting friendly sibling rivalry. Turner play catchy songs with raw rock energy, and The Modern Age are fresh and happy, treating the milling crowd to some enjoyable, female-fronted, indie pop tunes.

Elliot The Bull stride onto the stage to set up and they've even brought their own homemade band banner, which they drape across the front of stage. They launch into Haunting Blues, a hugely enjoyable crowd-pumping rock thumper. Displaying versatility, they immediately mix it up with the anthemic Paint The Sky with its harmonic, epic chorus sounding echoes of Aussie rock band The Screaming Jets. Cup Of Nestor is a danceable, melodic folky tune. Mixing gravelly, heartfelt vocals and tight instrumental skills, the band completely rock the small room, they are at times mesmerising and their energy transcends the modest stage.

There is a lot going on in these songs: pub rock mingles with alternate folk and hints of bluesy rock. They do their own brand of love ballad with Say You Love Me Too. Whatever 'it' is that makes a band float above the sea of mediocre, Elliot The Bull have it. Possibly most striking about their performance is the intense energy they put into their music. Despite the small crowd, they give it everything: forceful vocals, thumping rhythm of bass and drums and seamless guitar merge – and the tunes pulse with life. Given more exposure, these songs could become sing-a-long favourites.

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During his set directly following Elliot The Bull, Turner sums up the band's performance well: “How about Elliot The Bull? That's after a long bloody road trip. Hate to see you when you're fresh!”