Live Review: My Own Pet Radio, Machine Age, Mid Ayr

16 November 2015 | 12:45 pm | Roshan Clerke

"Cromack's distinctive voice floats over the audience like a boat lightly pushed out into the water."

Performing at a sold-out gig must be every opening band’s dream. Black Bear Lodge is busy tonight, with a contingent of hardcore Ball Park Music fans helping bolster attendance. Brisbane-based band Mid Ayr are the first to grace the stage, and experience some brief clarity issues before lead singer and former The Trouble With Templeton guitarist Hugh Middleton’s voice beings to creep through the speakers with alarming ease. The group sounds in fine form as drummer Zach Moynihan builds waves behind Middleton’s wailing energy and bassist Alex L’Estrange sends rhythmic ripples from his bass guitar. Letting You In features all the pre-millennial malaise of an an early Radiohead song, while Middleton’s voice wiggles around the beat of My Mayhem like a light-footed dancer. There’s an ear-splitting crescendo of supersonic harmony from the band before they finish to rapturous applause.

Adrian Mauro has been frequenting Brisbane stages lately and his live set as Machine Age is improving with each performance. He opens with his latest dramatic single, Chivalry, and a liberal dose of mood-setting moaning. The self-effacing lyrics of All I Ever Wanted would be hard to take on their own, but the intense music offers some semblance of transcendence, as industrial and discordant sounds give way to an overriding sense of melody. His cover of Ginuwine’s Pony falters at the starting gate after he forgets the lyrics to the second verse, before another rumbling bass cacophony and ricocheting guitar solo finishes his impressive set.

L’Estrange is doubling his duties tonight, and is soon back behind his bass guitar on the stage with the rest of the members of My Own Pet Radio. Sam Cromack strums the opening chords of Tangible Heart, as his distinctive voice floats over the audience like a boat lightly pushed out into the water. His bandmates sing enthusiastically off-mic, and are in full form for the instrumental jam of Don’t Press Send, Companion. He breaks from the Goodlum track-listing for Don’t Be Sad Anymore and the raucous I’m Having Such A Good Time Here after sharing the exciting news that he’ll be reissuing his first My Own Pet Radio album sometime in the near future.

The wonky guitar line of Enemy/Memory precedes Never-Ending Wave as the room turns into a James Murphy-inspired disco for three minutes, before Altamont Speedway, All Colours, Pink Freud, and anti-anthem No Great Mystery have the crowd singing along with his odes to insignificance. There’s a celebratory encore for the fans who’ve stuck around after the music has long stopped, as Cromack and the band jump back on stage for Lions, Or, No One Will Ever Love You and Fourteen Pianos & A Horse Jawbone, the latter spontaneously accompanied by Ball Park bandmate Jennifer Boyce. “Brisbane is the best city in the world,” Cromack shouts as he leaves the stage. With shows like these, we can’t help but agree.

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