Live Review: Jinja Safari, Opossom

14 August 2012 | 3:15 pm | Callum Twigger

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Memorandum to artists performing west of the Nullarbor any time soon: don't use the mining boom or fly-in, fly-out or any other Channel 7 headline-type-observation as the basis for audience banter. It'd be like a band touring Sydney walking into their gig and going, 'Wow, has anybody checked out that Opera House? Mental! And what's with that big bridge? Cool!' Alright. Whine over and out. Opossum were first on the night's bill, and it wasn't their best performance in front of the rather thin crowd. The New Zealand three-piece's considered psychedelic-rock sound just didn't really make the jump live. Blue Meanies was well-executed, but when a band ends a track by smacking all their instruments in unison, it's invasive and indulgent: the live gig equivalent of pulling a phone out and checking your emails half-way through a date. Fly did not come across healthily. Cola Elixir was similarly presented; played sharply, guitars on cue, but the band need to sharpen up their live show.

Jinja Safari's set was short, but they managed the time to complete a trek across their catalogue of rainforest beats. Safari's lead dudes Marcus Azon and Cameron Knight worked with movement and banter that made it feel like they were completely playing for the audience, not the profile. Hiccups was the introduction, overlaying a dual-drumbeat pulled from East African tribal rhythms with Brisbanian inflection and a keyboard that screeched like an equatorial bird. A musician's life is relentless: Azon revealed Safari had already depleted three of their ration of sixteen bamboo flutes. Toothless Grin chased up with vivid, middle-paced forest rock, condensing Safari's dense, organic sound with none of the pretention that comes gift-wrapped with anything from the similar sound of Sigur Ros. Two mysterious new tracks were unveiled; one unnamed, the other working under the title of Blue Now, both in the adapted tropical rock Safari have made theirs to own. It was at exactly at this point that your humble reviewer concluded Cameron Knight bares an unnatural similarity to a young John Cleese. Moonchild was delivered with subtlety, and Mermaids had Azon literally swinging from The Bakery's metal rafters. Woe betide, we don't get to see that anywhere near enough as we should, and unfortunately not nearly enough people witnessed.