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Live Review: Stargazed: In Search Of Lost Time

4 August 2015 | 1:53 pm | David Adams

"A celebration of Australia’s emerging psych music scene."

“This song is about that moment when you’re walking down the street, right, and you think you’re the main character of your own life and everyone else is like, an extra, but in their eyes you’re the extra and they are the main character.” Uncle Bobby’s frontman dispenses solipsistic wisdom while bouncing around in a giant, inflatable red suit. He brings his hands to his temples and mimes that familiar ‘mind blown’ action, careful not to tread on the sitar at his feet. This is Stargazed: In Search Of Lost Time, a celebration of Australia’s emerging psych music scene.

While it’s fun watching Uncle Bobby wander through some pretty goofy rock, the words of Kevin Parker linger and chill the Brunswick warehouse with a kind of unspoken tension. Last month, Parker — the heart and soul of the immensely successful Perth band Tame Impala — claimed in an interview with The Guardian that Australia is without a psych-rock scene outside of his West Australian mates and collaborators Pond and Melbourne’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. To be fair, the event hasn’t pinned all its hopes on finding a clear successor in Parker’s ilk, with the huge guitar swells of vhs dream turning dreamy and abrasive, followed by the convincingly disaffected post-punk drive of Hideous Towns.

Baptism Of Uzi push through their jams with a surprising urgency and power before Breve inject their dark and jagged take on the genre. The looping visuals, projected on the walls and playing on an assortment of old televisions, congeal to provide a thematic backing to the music. Astrological videos are smashed with art-school projects and overexposed film footage, and the frenetic graphic mash mirrors the mixed provenance of the acts. When headliners Fierce Mild take the stage, it becomes clear that even if Australia’s psych scene isn’t yet a global force, the appreciation of the genre and its new interpretations have provided a fertile breeding ground for alternative voices. The newest faces of Australian psych rock may not be tearing up the US album charts yet, but with the help of a thousand guitar pedals, they're making themselves heard in the heart of Melbourne.