Live Review: Oliver Tank - Barsoma

9 July 2012 | 7:30 pm | Sky Kirkham

Oliver Tank is an engaging performer and despite some continuing sound problems manages to put on a wonderful show...

Charles Murdoch is throwing down some tasty beats early in the night, as Silo celebrate their first birthday in style at Barsoma; with an appropriate selection of solo performers, the release of their first physical album and some very tasty cupcakes.

Rainbow Chan, out of Sydney, is the first of the artists featured on the new vinyl to take to the stage tonight and she starts off with a very spare pop song; beats composed of looped and layered breaths, and whispered vocals. Most of the set is a much more intense affair, although the songs all feature cleverly looped organic instruments – voice, melodica, thumb piano – along with triggered drums and melodies to create an interesting and slightly off-kilter sound, while still managing to maintain that pop sensibility. Live, Rainbow Chan loses some of the tweeness that threatens to overwhelm her recorded work, and new single Rabbit & Fox is much more impressive in this environment.

Dom Stephens mentions that he's losing his voice as he begins his set as Outerwaves, but it's barely noticeable. Indeed, this is probably the strongest and most consistent set he's put together in a while, with the different aspects of his sound melding effortlessly. His side of the new single, Goods Inwards, shows up quickly; a wonderfully catchy slice of electronica. For the middle of the set, Outerwaves abandons upbeat pop for the sort of downbeat electro that the collective is best known for and while there are a few too many pauses between tracks, he shows that he can mix it up in that realm as well.

With the lights dropped low and the crowd pushing forward, it's time for headliner Oliver Tank to take the stage. Fighting some initial feedback problems he starts off with an extended version of Up All Night. Simple plucked guitar and vocals slowly give way to the sparse and instantly recognisable hook. A live bridge is a welcome inclusion, further changing the song and pushing the focus firmly onto Tank's lovely voice, before the main melody takes hold again and his voice fades back to be another instrument in the song, albeit a very pretty one.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

The set tonight is very similar to the one he performed at Bridge Club earlier in the year, but there are a couple of new songs, and it's heartening to see that some of the tracks that were new at that point have changed into stronger, more complete, versions now. Oliver Tank is an engaging performer and despite some continuing sound problems manages to put on a wonderful show, with an infectiously happy grin whether he's rearranging his own dream-pop tunes or miming along to Drop It Like It's Hot.