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Live Review: Immigration Union, The Nirvana All-Star Cover Kids

9 December 2014 | 10:38 am | Max Harrison

Immigrant Union blessed the walls at Frankie's Pizza By The Slice in Sydney.

Headlining the forthcoming Sydney Psych Fest, Immigrant Union blessed the walls and grunge-infused pizza at Frankie’s early on Thursday night, with a little help from our own Sydney locals celebrating Nirvana.

Hailing from Melbourne, Immigrant Union have recently returned from touring the States. Back in Sydney again they were completely relaxed and seemed eager to show off their touring skills. Opening the evening, the band seamlessly created a warm wash of welcome sound, and looking around had already attracted the crowd up to the front of the stage during their quick soundcheck.

That warmth persisted throughout their psychedelic set. The grooves created by the drummer Paddy McGrath-Lester are not fast or slow, but marshalled perfectly. The psych sound is compounded by bass licks from Ben Street and the smooth Maton acoustic playing of songwriter Bob Harrow, while the keys from Peter Lubulwa really shone over the top of the drone throughout. The most recent single, I Can’t Return, is a smash live, showcasing second songwriter of the group, Brent DeBoer of The Dandy Warhols.

The Nirvana All-Star Cover Kids stepped up to the plate after a hard act to follow, ripping through a killer high-paced set. The Sydneyside celebration of Nirvana’s music came about through the release of Jesse Frohman’s book, Kurt Cobain: The Last Session, accompanied by a photographic exhibition at the Blender Gallery in Paddington.

The Sydney musicians not only captured the sound, but also the aura of the grunge music scene in a short and sweet set. The amalgamation of musicians drew from numerous local bands: Zeahorse, Chicks Who Love Guns, Doc Holliday Takes the Shotgun, Okay Cocaine and The Upskirts, all bringing their own flavour and homage to the chosen Nirvana numbers. Throughout the performance the crucial intensity was delivered by the drum and bass team of Xavier Diekman and James Booker, respectively.

Cass Navarro busted out a terrific performance, scowling out crowd favourite, Serve The Servants flawlessly, accompanied by James McComb on guitar. Each song was delivered with genuine obscenity, capturing what may have been an insight into Nirvana’s extraordinary appeal. Zeahorse’s Morgan Anthony began the set with Breed as powerfully as it ended with The Upskirts’ rendition of Aneurysm. The entire audience was left with ringing in their ears and the hope that Frankie’s would be host to more quality celebrations by Sydney musicians in future.