Live Review: Laura, Usurper Of Modern Medicine, The Silent World, Craig McElhinney

12 June 2012 | 11:52 am | Cam Findlay

To quote a certain and suddenly popular television series, Winter is coming. And while rough weather might be on the cards lately, last Saturday thankfully parted the clouds for yet another quality Life Is Noise gig at the Rosie, this time hosting an eclectic mix of experimental sounds.

First up, and with a typical lack of fanfare, Craig McElhinney stepped on stage, opened up his case and started doing what he does best. With just a little flitting around with knobs and pedals, McElhiney builds abrasive yet engaging soundscapes from scratch. Halfway through his set, he pulled out his twelve-string acoustic to filter the sounds through organic, Middle-Easternesque riffs, which he eventually turned around into a countrified dirge over static noise.

The Silent World next completely changed up the mood, but kept that experimental tune going. With a heady triple-guitar barrage, they plowed through a set of songs that rode in and out of various melodies and rhythms. With a few new songs thrown into the mix, the band showed that they have much more going for them in their future.

Now a go-to band to quell the ever-existent “Perth is boring” argument, Usurper Of Modern Medicine provided their typically explosive best, with tracks sliding in and out of psychedelic platforms, while somehow tying funk, metal and tribal rhythm together in a big clump of offbeat catchiness. Usurps have never disappointed, at least for as long as this scribe can remember. Their set was so good, the fire alarms went off! (An over-excited smoke machine may have helped with that.)

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The headliners for the night, Laura are a Melbourne six-piece that have never made it to WA. Whilst they were to explain why this was the case, their set more than compensated for any perceived slights. Battling around a loud-soft dynamic that is the bread and butter of any quality post-rock band, Laura steeped the night into a deep and dark vortex of tight rhythm, soaring front-end melodies and crushing riffs. Whilst the cello accompaniment sometimes was lost in the cavalcade, it's always interesting to see such classical instruments incorporated into the mix, and it really showed off Laura's care in songwriting and melodic balance. All in all, they let their tight instrumentation drive the set, but weren't afraid to rock out. Let's hope it doesn't take another ten years for them to re-visit our shores.