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Live Review: Little Scout, I, Am Man

5 November 2013 | 4:59 pm | Delima Shanti

The overall effect is that of a hypnotic serenade, with the small-but-enthusiastic crowd watching on quietly and winding down an intimate, Sunday-night gig.

It speaks of a support band's talent and potential when it can be argued that their performance is no less entertaining than the headliner and this is certainly the way tonight. Melbourne boys I, A Man are able to hold their own as they warm up the stage with their brand of reverb-heavy tunes. Opening with You're Boring Us All, droning verses accompany washed-out ambient guitars and marching drum beats.

Transitions between tracks are often seamless, creating the illusion that the band are performing a single epic song, something like an Explosions In The Sky track with the addition of frontman Ash Hunter's almost-slurred vocals. In Sometimes, the band channel indie-rock influences with upbeat drums and layered guitars building up towards a climax, all chanting, “You're always on your own,” somewhat mournfully, until the end.

On the last leg of their Are You Life album tour, Little Scout's live performance, much like the band's new record, flits from peppy pop tunes with a bit of bite (March Over To Me) to the no-holds-barred explosions of bass and drums as demonstrated in the title track. Far from conforming to the pop-rock sounds seemingly popular with Australian indie bands of late, the Brisbane-based band's performance is marked by layered distortion and striking vocal melodies, creating a chilled-out vibe that's perfectly suited to this laidback warehouse venue.

Performing a combination of songs from their new album as well as material from their debut studio record Take Your Light, there is always an undercurrent of darkness laced with singer Mel Tickle's smooth vocals. A definite highlight in the Little Scout gig is a cover of Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes. Staying true to the original, with Tickle attempting to take on Carnes' gravelly voice, the band seem completely at home taking it back to 1981, probably taking more than a few people back to their high school proms in the process.

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Finishing with a pared-down rendition of Don't Teach Me To Sing, Tickle's naturally syrupy, sweet voice soothes the lonesome, throbbing guitar. The overall effect is that of a hypnotic serenade, with the small-but-enthusiastic crowd watching on quietly and winding down an intimate, Sunday-night gig.