"It wouldn't be a Jeremy Neale set if that smooth sax didn't also get to absolutely shred on top of some of the finest pop-rock tunes known to man."
Sydney trio Yeevs' opening set bounced along with dense, dissonant guitar fleshing out an already beefy rhythm section. The short set was packed with enjoyable tunes like the jangly Lazy and the driving, Built To Spill-esque Rebound, all topped off with Brad Cork's extremely charismatic howling vocals in the vein of Pixies or The Smashing Pumpkins.
Weak Boys have a freewheeling, pub-rock Parquet Courts kind of style to their songs, hammering down a simple, catchy chord progression to make way for gratuitous rock'n'roll antics. The songs were at their best when they allowed for singer Chris Yates to really get into frontman mode and have some fun up the neck of his guitar. Unfortunately, the trio made it clear that they had a few favourite tunes to play, while others suffered from a lack of conviction.
Before long, yet another trio made their way on stage, Sydney's Black Zeros, who are sounding better every time they play. Nimble and precise drums and steady bass rounded out the band's sound and added a lot of subtle panache, without ever getting in the way of frontwoman Joe Jackson, although maybe they couldn't if they tried. From the underground '60s stomp of one song to a slinky new track built on a solid bossa nova groove, the band's razor-edged surf-blues quickly got the whole room moving.
Jeremy Neale might be most comfortable (or at least most well known) as the cheeky posterboy of good-times Bris pop, but since releasing his second EP this year he's opened up the opportunity to get raw on stage in a whole new way. From the moody beginnings of title track Let Me Go Out In Style, it was clear that we were going to see a new side of the hard-working singer-songwriter. It was hard to miss the newfound passion and real heartache being poured into tracks like Hold On Together and set highlight Lifespans (If You Ask It), and Neale was ably backed up by his ever-impressive band, now including a full-time saxophonist. Of course, it wouldn't be a Jeremy Neale set if that smooth sax didn't also get to absolutely shred on top of some of the finest pop-rock tunes known to man, including the explosive Lone Tiger and the perennial In Stranger Times.
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