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Live Review: Obits, Undead Apes, The Arcolas

28 August 2012 | 4:51 pm | Jack Newnes

More Obits More Obits

Local four-piece The Arcolas aren't exactly a household name but they have a heap of familiar faces – no doubt because their line-up features members of Brisbane luminaries past and present such as Vegas Kings, SixFtHick, Bantha Fodder and El Borracho – and the brand of blistering old-school rock'n'roll that they peddle is chocked full of hooks and attitude, all pumping melodies and cool dumb riffs. A solid cover of Radio Birdman's Do The Pop gives some idea of their angle, but it's originals like Thing For You and White Tiger which signal a cool new band in our midst.

Local punk luminaries Undead Apes are up next and their performance is just as you'd expect these days; fast, furious and fun in equal measure. They might enjoy dressing in uniform, but it's the differences that the members bring to the table as much as the similarities which makes them such an appealing proposition: the distinct songwriting styles of Messrs Graydon, Scott and Mercer are clearly miles removed yet complement each other perfectly and melt into a unique single feel, while the whole thing is anchored by the fine drumming of Renae Collette. Tracks like Eat Yr Brain, Taxes, Radioactive, Ampersand's Turd and Brain Drain are immediate and infectious, and one day more people will ruefully realise how great this band are that they'd been previously ignoring.

It's a Sunday night crowd of rock stalwarts who've gathered by the time that New York four-piece Obits take the stage, and those who made the effort are rewarded in spades as soon as the unassuming rock powerhouse kick into gear. Fat bass grooves are augmented by weaving guitar lines courtesy of Rick Froberg – he of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes – and his partner-in-crime Sohrab Habinion, the former summoning a manic intensity from his lithe frame as be belts out the lyrics to tracks such as Let Me Dream If I Want To with zero pretence or artifice, like this music is their lot in life rather than some aesthetic quest or serious art form. Obits on stage are a sinuous beast, emitting an ominous and brooding sound with no apparent room for frivolity, favouring thrift over embellishment and leaving plenty of space amidst the brutality. Habinion offers the slightly sludgier Standards before Froberg throws in new song Suez Canal, which is relatively refined but still sounds brilliant. The stabbing riffs of Talking To The Dog fire up the room before the quartet wander off stage and return almost immediately, making light of the modest turnout before offering those discerning rock dogs present three more blistering numbers to dwell on, even as the new week hovers hazily on the communal horizon.