Live Review: Harts, Apes, The Harlots

15 January 2016 | 4:20 pm | Hannah Blackburn

"He swings the guitar up behind his head and plays it upside down, resting on his shoulder."

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Just off Sydney Road, in a giant warehouse/bar, is Howler. Out the back, we discover indie-rock six-piece The Harlots, who sing songs of sorrow, but somehow alter them into happy tunes. Next up is Apes. Watching these guys is like witnessing balls of static energy bounce around the stage. The lead guitarist drowns in reverb and the drums are super-tight, keeping it all together. They have a new song where the lead vocals mimic the higher notes being shredded up by the lead guitarist.

Then, through the dark, side-stage door Darren Hart (aka Harts) appears. As he strides out, looking and giving off a strong energy of pure confidence, he shouts out, "How we doing, Howler?" Donning a scarf, hat and leather jacket, he begins to melt the crowd with his melodies. While he's dancing around the stage, it becomes apparent Harts has done this all before. At one point he swings the guitar up behind his head and plays it upside down, resting on his shoulder, and then he turns his back to the crowd to prove just how good he really is.

Harts is only a two-piece live project, with the drums and himself, and he somehow manages to incorporate vocals, electric guitar and synth into his set. Although this works, and is already incredibly powerful, the thought of him having a full band behind him blows our minds and hopefully one day we will be able to witness this.

He starts to sing his song about having the "same energy"; excitement builds and transmits into and throughout the audience. His hat falls off and he skips around the stage (to make sure both sides of the crowd get some action). Harts decides to rip off his scarf, too, which leaves him dressed all in black and highlights the old-school-rock feel with his big leather jacket.

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During a new song, we notice the crowd dances to gain approval. Harts goes on to perform his belter, Breakthrough, and mentions he reminds himself of Jimi Hendrix. Demonstrating such skill, we can understand that perhaps that's where he got most of his inspiration, however, the self-proclaimed legend status puts a funny feel in the air.

Harts drops the mic and leaves the stage. We beg him back for one more. It's Hendrix's Purple Haze.