Live Review: Oliver Tank - Northcote Social Club

23 June 2012 | 8:08 pm | Anna Maria Megalogenis

Tank lifts things up a notch with a cover of Snoop Dog’s Beautiful and the infamous 'drop it like it’s hot' sample, whereby Tank professes his adulation of this artist by saying 'Snoop Dog’s King.'

Melbourne four-piece Mildlife are exponents of electronica and inadvertently make the earth move, at least when Melbourne's earthquake hits, though the Northcote Social Club must be built on solid foundations since the tremor felt is almost as powerful as a massage. Mildlife's blend of synthesiser, syncopated rhythms, funky bass lines and some stylised drumbeats is impressive. The majority of punters are seated on the floor, but are promptly asked to stand up by a security guard. Seeing punters sitting on the floor of a venue watching a band is one of this scribe's pet hates and just shows a complete lack of respect for the artist. We aren't in school assembly folks! Arriving Soon, their latest release, has that slow, sexy, seductive groove sure to inspire some serious dance moves in us all.

Every so often an artist comes along who slips under the commercial radar but garners enough of a following, through free music-sharing sites such as Soundcloud and his sheer musical genius, to achieve cult status in a short period. Oliver Tank is such an artist and his three sold-out shows at Northcote Social Club are testament to his proficiency in producing a fine blend of melancholy, ambient, organic and synthetic soundscapes that soothe the soul and resonate with a multitude of fans.

The heavy velvet curtain is drawn to reveal the man who won a competition to perform in Iceland at the Northern Lights Festival in 2011, propelling him to the international stage. Tank, the 22 year old Sydneysider, is surrounded by all manner of analogue boards, midis and synthesisers and holds an electric guitar. He is the modern-day version of the one-man band. “My name's Oliver and I'm going to play music for you.” With that introduction he plays a few notes on his synthesiser and creates vocal effects, showcasing his angelic, soulful voice during the ambient, minimal Up All Night, off his Dreams EP. All the while the backdrop has projections of sea creatures undulating in slow motion and elements of nature such as clouds enhancing the dreamy effect for our viewing pleasure. Past, Present, Future begins with a guitar strum that morphs and repeats throughout the song. 

A searing highlight is the rendition of Embrace, sans his friend/vocalist Fawn Myers, “who works full-time and couldn't come to Melbourne.” It is the sparse, oscillating electronic sounds that make it a foray into melancholia, and heartfelt vocals, soaring with the beats, which make this song a masterpiece, and it draws a strong response from fans in the now-packed venue. If this weren't enough, Tank lifts things up a notch with a cover of Snoop Dog's Beautiful and the infamous “drop it like it's hot” sample, whereby Tank professes his adulation of this artist by saying “Snoop Dog's King.” 

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Tank informs us that he is producing a mixtape, which will have more of a hip hop and R&B feel to it. “I don't do encores, 'cause it would be weird, so I'll stay and do my last song. It's the first song I wrote in the Oliver Tank name.” Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion was a university assignment and Tank tells us it's about being unsure about something to the extent that it consumes you.

This unassuming, humble fellow puts on a show that is nothing short of brilliant, and to top it off, he invites everyone to come and buy some vinyl and meet him afterwards. Now that is a professional showman and an act not to be missed.