"We can’t help but feel that we’ve just witnessed the beginnings of Aussie rock royalty."
The Franklin Electric have just kicked things off as we make our way into Corner Hotel. It seems the Montreal alt-folk-rockers' reputation precedes them as the place is already half full. Frontman Jon Matte is juggling lead vocals and keys, but still has time to step away from the mic for a trumpet solo or two. Their amazing four part harmonies are sure to have won a few fans.
Despite how early it is, the room is close to capacity as Olympia takes the stage. Unfortunately, despite obvious talent, her style of indie rock doesn’t go down well with those riding the high from The Franklin Electric or hanging out for Holy Holy. There’s little appreciation shown between tracks, and the set acts as little more than loud background noise to our conversations.
Finally, behind drawn curtains, a familiar eerie guitar tone seeps through the bandroom. As they pull back, the live five-piece incarnation of Holy Holy (usually a two-piece) join in a mesmerising jam that slowly evolves into Impossible Like You. There’s some technical difficulties early on as frontman Timothy Carroll has blown an amp, but like true professionals we’re not left standing idly by as Oscar Dawson (drums) et al. break into a cover of the Terminator theme song that would do Arnie proud! With Carroll back behind the mic, the show continues with crowd favourite If I Were You. The accompanying guitar solo cuts through the mix beautifully, only to be outdone by an intense drum break.
The crowd remains docile, in awe of the wall of sound coming at us, but that doesn’t stop one dude from climbing atop his mate's shoulders and rocking out alone. We seize every opportunity to show our appreciation between tracks — and there’s a few (not totally unwarranted) comparisons to Zeppelin being thrown around the pit. Carroll announces the band will be heading back to the studio in April to record some new tracks, giving us a taste of what’s to come with Island. The new track doesn’t stray from their signature sound and could easily be a B-side from debut album When The Storms Would Come.
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The boys rip through psych rock anthems History and Pretty Strays For Hopeless Lovers before treating us to another new track, Elevator. It’s a welcome change of pace and much more dancey than the rest of the set — even evoking some bopping and movement — highlighted by a stunning 12-string guitar solo. Heroine gives us a chance to try out our falsetto, singing along with Carroll with the "woo-ooo"s.
We send them off with resounding applause, knowing they’ll be back shortly. Before too long (and after a half-assed “one more song” chant) they’re back with a brief yet haunting tribute to David Bowie with a cover of Starman. A mass singalong ensues, and we very nearly drown out the PA system. It seems the entire evening has been building to this moment as they break into psychedelic masterpiece You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog. We match the energy and enthusiasm on stage for the first and last time and make sure they feel the love with a deafening roar on the final note. We can’t help but feel that we've just witnessed the beginnings of Aussie rock royalty.