Live Review: Opossom - Phoenix Public House

22 May 2012 | 7:07 pm | Alexandra Sutherland

"Their music has a zany edge coupled with catchy, dual vocal choruses that leave you whistling their tunes for hours afterwards."

The audience fills slowly but surely at Phoenix Public House on a brisk Thursday night. Clustered conversations are interrupted not by the polite introduction of the first band, The Murlocs, but by the first powerful drawl coming out of lead singer, Ambrose Kenny Smith's mouth. The Murlocs' energy-filled performance shows the audience exactly why they have become such frequent local performers and a sought-after support act. With a sound too aggressive to be bluegrass, and too country-infused to be straight rock, The Murlocs unapologetically bombard your senses. When not embraced by impressive vocal belts and flips, you are pleasingly assaulted by a harmonica solo or twisting, turning melody.

The lights dim again and three young-looking gentlemen take the stage, launching into an unexpected and beautifully woeful harmony. I'lls' make an immediate impact on the crowd, which quickly condenses around the stage. The audio is perfectly showcased with instrumental build-ups that take you on a sonic adventure into I'lls' synth-driven experiment. The chorus is like a choir's hymn over a constant beat that pulses though the crowd like a communal heartbeat. Like a heartbeat, the sound of I'lls' eases naturally and refreshingly into your soul.

Wonder and anticipation illuminates the crowd in the darkened Phoenix as New Zealand's Opossom welcome the crowd and immediately distinguish themselves as quirky personalities with music to match. Their positive pop is pure chemistry among the three-piece who all have their differing musical roles and personas. The trilogy begin with a dynamic duo of drummer Kody Nielson, formally of The Mint Chicks, and partner Bic Runga, acclaimed solo songstress. These two multi-instrumentalists embark with Nielson on drums and Runga on keys, battling it out with a cacophony of beats, synth and organ effects. Set up with keyboard and drums facing one another, the pair challenge and fight off each other while their bassist, Michael Logie, watches, responsibly keeping the beat. This is a fight for passion and control with each upping the energy and using their instrument as a weapon in this battle for the audience's attention. They share and alternate vocals in an ebb and flow of energy in anthem-like tunes. Their music has a zany edge coupled with catchy, dual vocal choruses that leave you whistling their tunes for hours afterwards. In no time, the audience is bopping and dancing to the modern-pop tunes and bouts of experimental solos that Opossom bring. The answer to who wins their musical battle tonight is, very obviously, the audience.